Those who love to travel know that there is always something new to discover. Visiting Peru at Christmas? Why not? From September to December it is spring in Peru and during those months there is a much more pleasant warm climate. You can also visit Machu Picchu with more peace of mind because there are fewer tourists. Spending the end of the year holidays in Peru will be a wonderful experience.
Origins of Christmas in Peru
In Peru, Christmas begins to be celebrated from the year 1535 with the arrival of the Spaniards. Unlike other countries in the world, Peruvians celebrate it on December 24, Christmas Eve better known as Christmas Eve. As part of the activities that night, there is the Midnight Mass, which normally takes place at 11:00. Families also attend mass and then eat dinner after midnight.
The Christmas Eve menu traditionally includes: turkey, pork, jerky or juanes, these dishes reflect our cultural diversity and are an example that these holidays are a magical moment in our gastronomy.
In Peru, the birth of Jesus is celebrated in each of its regions with a particular stamp that identifies its inhabitants and that has deserved in several cases the distinction of Patrimony of the Nation and even world.
Among the most important cultural expressions of the country are: the markets of Cusco and the Black Christmas of Chincha.
Live the magic of Christmas in Cusco
The balconies of the city are filled with garlands, lights and many decorations, while different activities take place in the streets that will surprise you during your trip to Peru. One of the most anticipated traditions is the Santurantikuy or “Sale of Saints”, a Christmas fair that has been held in Cusco since the 16th century where you can find the best crafts in the entire region.
Every December 24, Cusco's Plaza de Armas turns into a large open-air market. Artisans from all over the region come to the Imperial City to sell the products they have been working on throughout the year: clay figures of all sizes and shapes so you can put together a beautiful Nativity scene for these dates. But among all the figures there is a great protagonist: Niño Manuelito, the name by which the people of Cusco know the baby Jesus.
With the arrival of the Spaniards, the Catholic religion prevailed over the Inca beliefs, but the imprint of the empire remained, creating an Andean-Catholic religious syncretism that is preserved to this day and that you can see reflected in the different statuettes of the Niño Manuelito that you will find in Santurantikuy.
In the district of El Carmen, located in the province of Chincha (Ica), it is customary to develop a live birth or the so-called Black Christmas, since all its actors are of Afro race, who to the rhythm of the footwork will celebrate the arrival of the Child Jesus.
Between dances and songs they gather to welcome the baby Jesus. The little ones start a tap dance as a promise to their ancestors to commemorate this birth. The joy of children, the applause of adults and musical instruments such as the donkey's jawbone and the cajon, are part of this great Creole-Afro-Peruvian festivity.
In this celebration the Hatajo de Negritos and Las Pallitas dances are danced. These two Afro-Peruvian cultural expressions, which are manifested during the Christmas celebration, were declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO on December 12, 2019.
Perú is full of surprising places and this Christmas 2022 we are waiting for you in Machu Picchu the Inca civilization.