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Peru: Holy Week in Peru — a time for religion and recreation

Peru: Holy Week in Peru — a time for religion and recreation

By Isabel Guerra

Peru, a country that has been through 300 years of Spanish Viceroyalty, is still, despite the advances of other religions and cults, a Catholic country.

Spanish conquistadores set foot on current Peru's territories in 1532, and imposed Catholicism by force on the native Peruvians, who adopted the Catholic rituals and even the faith in a Supreme God; but they never really abandoned their animist beliefs and practices, blending both cultures in a unique religious syncretism.


Good Friday Procession.jpgThis gives the Peruvian Easter celebrations a peculiar local color that attracts devotees and tourists as well.

Good Friday Procession in Ayacucho
(PHOTO: Hector Jesus)


Andean cities and towns celebrate the whole Holy Week with particular fervor, especially in places like Ayacucho, a city that portrays the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ with incredible intensity.

The colorful processions also depict several different stages of the Passion of Christ, but includes a very unique funeral procession -- that carries an image of Jesus inside a crystal coffin.

Another famous celebration takes place in Cusco, the capital of the Inca Empire, where the Señor de los Temblores (The Lord of the Earthquakes) reigns. The image of this Christ depicts a dark-skinned Christ, who is considered the patron of this city, that has faced some very strong earthquakes.

senor de los temblores.jpg
Señor de los Temblores, Cusco
(PHOTO: Bill Wilcox)


As in most Catholic countries, in Peru, Good Thursday and Good Friday are also official holidays, so nowadays Peruvians usually take this long weekend not only for religious observance, but also as an opportunity for domestic tourism, or for just relaxing and winding down.

And of course, Peruvian gastronomy features its best seafood specialties on Good Friday, since the Catholic customs dictate that meat is not allowed this day.

So, even if you are not a believer, you may want to come and spend a complete Holy Week long weekend.

¿Maybe next year?

Learn more about Isabel

With a Master's degree in Communications from the University of Lima's School of Communication Sciences, Isabel specializes in covering stories regarding art and culture.

She also has an interest in photography, especially the area of photo journalism. Some of her photos can be found in her Picasa Photo Album and also in her fotoblog Bubblepics.

As if her photography doesn't keep her busy enough, Isabel maintains the blog Las Burbujas Recargadas while also serving as News Editor for LivinginPeru.com

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