Palm leaves and a carpet of flowers: the “Semana Santa” in Peru

Avatar photo

After Christmas, “Semana Santa”, the week before Easter and the last part of Lent intended to commemorate the Passion of Christ, is the most important Christian holiday in Peru and is widely celebrated in all regions of the country.

Travelers can expect colorful processions and parades in many Peruvian towns during the season, when locals don festive costumes. Special customs are celebrated throughout the country, such as the presentation of carpets of flowers, -the symbolic equivalent of European Easter nests- and typical dishes and drinks are prepared everywhere. Easter traditions in the different regions of the Andes are diverse on the Pacific coast and in the Amazon rainforest.

Flowers galore in Lima

In Lima, the setting for the ten days of festivities is the historic city center, where residents of all neighborhoods meet with visitors from the rest of the country’s regions. It is customary to visit seven churches from Maundy Thursday to Good Friday. From Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, the streets of Lima are particularly colorful when carpets of flowers are spread throughout the city. Each year, the most beautiful carpet of flowers is chosen during a national competition.

The Last Supper in Cuzco

In Cuzco, the birthplace of the Incas, “Semana Santa” traditionally begins on Palm Sunday with services to which most worshipers bring a cross tied with palm fronds to be blessed. This is followed by small joyful processions, in which the figure of Jesus is traditionally accompanied by a donkey. On Maundy Thursday or Good Friday, the tradition of the 12 dishes is celebrated with the family: inspired by the Last Supper of Christ, the whole family gathers around a large table, where, according to the 12 apostles, three starters are offered , soups, dishes and desserts.

The Resurrection of Christ in Ayacucho

In Ayacucho, one of the most religious towns in southern Peru, Easter celebrations are considered one of the most important manifestations of faith of the year. At Easter, the whole city is in constant motion – this is where Andean culture mixes with Catholicism, bathing the whole city in colors, traditions and customs in a festive atmosphere. The climax of the festivities is reached on Easter morning, when the figure of the risen Christ is carried from the main cathedral to the central square, which fills with devotees and a vast sea of ​​burning candles.

Art and culture in Chachapoyas

In Chachapoyas, the capital of the Amazon region, religious devotion is expressed in the veneration of ancient images and paintings. During the period from the Friday before Holy Week to Holy Saturday, churches throughout the city are open to visitors and invite visitors to admire works of art depicting the passion, death and resurrection of Christ.

Catherine Mills Avatar