I have always admired the strong religious faith and ancient traditions here in Cusco. Christmas is no exception and, actually, it is one of the most special events here.
In public areas such as parks and churches people gather together in order to build huge Nativity sets. Furthermore, I have heard that in towns like Huaro, children and teenagers of the same neighborhood join in order to compete with other youngsters for the best Nativity set so the whole town is full of them with one in nearly every block.
What I like best is the Andean flavour of these Nativity sets with figures of peasants wearing local clothes and accompanied with llamas.
Here some pics:
The biggest event here at Christmas is the Santurantikuy fair, though. Even though the translation from english is “the buying of saint”, some local people know this festival as the blessing of the new-born Jesus Christ.
The new-born Jesus Christ is called Niño Manuelito here in Cusco and locals go to the fair in order to buy one and then they go to any church and have priests bless him.
The name “Manuelito” comes from the 17th century. Back then, Jesus was called Emmanuel, which means God is among us, by Spanish people but Quechua-speaking locals were not able to pronounce it well. So, they ended up calling him Niño Manuelito.
Santurantikuy is the last traditional event of the year in Cusco.
Other festivals are the procession of the Lord of the Earthquakes (Monday before Easter), the Crucifix Vigil (May 2), Qoyllurit´i (May or June), Corpus Christi (May or June), Inti Raymi (June), and Virgen del Carmen (July).
As I was walking around the historic center of Cusco in the morning I saw this family looking at the Christmas tree just before the Santo Domingo church. I love this pic: