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Cusco: Corpus Christi this June 4th

02 June 2015

The Festival of "Corpus Christi" looms large in the festive calendar of the city (May or movable June - nine weeks after Easter), is one of the most lavish religious festivals of Cusco so for this occasion the city It is very popular with people coming from other shores. The origin of this festival dates back to 1247, when San Miguel de Liege (Belgium) was held for the first time. "Corpus Christi" means "Body of Christ" and was instituted to solemnly commemorate the institution of the Holy Eucharist, which in turn represents the Body of Christ; It should take place next Thursday after the octave of Pentecost, ie the day after the feast of the Holy Trinity Thursdays; This day becomes Thursday counting nine weeks after Holy Thursday. It was established in this area of ​​the Andes after 1533 but instituted officially in Qosqo by Viceroy Toledo in 1572, with its famous "Ordinances".

In ancient times there were important feasts in each month of the year; the Inkario was characterized by an agricultural, quiet and relatively harmonious society that had parties related to their core business and their ancestral deities. Clearly the largest party Inkario was the "Inti Raymi" or "Sun Festival", carried out exactly in the Winter Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere, ie on 21 June each year. It was a religious celebration developed in the main square of the city in honor of "Tayta Inti" or "Father Sun" and before the "mallki" of all his children, ie in the presence of the mummies of all the Incas or Kings Tawantinsuyo, and other ancestors. The mummies were carried in procession richly dressed with many jewels and ornaments on a stretcher or special bunk beds made of precious metals (the cult of "mallki" became known as "Onqoy Mita"); After the religious ceremony had a festoon is abundant food, drink and dancing in another part of the square.

Corpus Christi are two Latin words, mean Body of Christ. With these words the feast of the institution of the Eucharist, which celebrates Catholic Church on Thursday sixtieth day after the Sunday of Easter is designated.

"When the Spaniards arrived at Cusco, were surprised to learn that the children of the Sun drew in procession to the mummies of the Incas. Then, brandishing the Gospels, they decided to end forever the pagan feast solution missionaries who accompanied the conquerors was very simple: replace the venerated remains by images of the Virgin and the Catholic saints Thus was born the Corpus Christi in the ancient capital of Tawantinsuyo, a Catholic celebration that was impregnated Andean nuances ".

The feast of Corpus Christi takes place in June, the date is movable.


Today, the festival is important for ordinary people living in the jurisdiction of the different parishes of Qosqo; Preparations begin with weeks and even months in advance for which there is a traditional organization led by Butler ("carguyoq") is the person who accepts the position, responsibility and obligation to pay most of the costs of the festival which among others includes masses, new dress for the Virgin or the saint of the parish, the contract with a band ("q'aperos") to accompany the procession, a typical orchestra for the celebration of the feast, food guests, brandy, chicha and beer, reminders, etc. In many cases the costs are shared with other people who were committed to this by "hurk'a", ie the system whereby visiting a person with enormous wheat breads as gifts to make a commitment to accept to donate or pay something for the party.

On Wednesday, a day before the Corpus Christi the "entrance" of the images coming out in procession accompanied their parish priest, the neighbors, the butlers chest bearing the "demands" that are distinctive or standards sometimes performed silver with the image of the Virgin or Saint, to go to the Cathedral where the image to be deposited until the next day when the main procession takes place. In this "entry" of saints is celebrated and spectacular "career" undertaking San Sebastian and San Jeronimo to try to get first to the Cathedral of the city; hand early morning image of St. Jerome from the district of the same name distant about 10 Kms. in the district of San Sebastián about 5 Kms. the image of people already in the track, and thus the arrival of the other picture a crazy race starts La Cultura Avenue to the Main Square.

In the Main Square have risen quite large altars adorned with mirrors, flags, flowers, tree branches, some images, etc .; once, those altars were more numerous and showy, adorned with silver frontals, Cusco School paintings of images in bulk, etc. On this day, near the Main Square many traders have placed their typical food stands for attendants to the "entrance", which serves the traditional "Chiri Uchu" or "Cold Aji" consisting of small pieces roasted guinea pig, chicken, ch'arki, sausages, cau-cau, cheese, corn flour fritters, roasted corn, and rocoto qocha-weed; other stands also serve pork rinds, kebabs, etc.; and of course beer and chicha. After the entrance of images into the Cathedral, the people will unleash their gastronomic tastes and his thirst for alcohol.

The main day of Corpus Christi is perceived busy in the early hours of the morning; inside the cathedral many Masses for various saints and Virgin are held at about 10:30 am, the Archbishop of the city celebrates a Pontifical Mass and Te Deum, after which it will begin the procession. Float procession presided Silver also known as PA or Baldacchino in the central portion holds the golden sun of the Custody, which in turn represents the Blessed Sacrament, which remains in front of the Archbishop of knees. The Temple was built under Bishop Fray Bernardo de Serrada in 1733 using part of a legacy of Dr. Francisco de Goyzueta Maldonado, it has a cedar wood frame and covered with embossed silver plates; today in procession on a motor vehicle; still behind the city authorities, delegations from various institutions and schools, etc.

After the procession of the Blessed Sacrament, about noon, it begins with the procession of saints and virgins in Main Square where you may have gathered about 50 or 60 thousand people. Tradition has an established order for the procession from the time of the colony, so that the starting order of the images is as follows:

1. San Antonio parish of San Cristobal
2. Jerome Parish district of San Jeronimo
3. San Cristobal San Cristobal parish
4. San Sebastian parish in the district of San Sebastian
5. Santa Barbara parish district Poroy
6. Santa Ana parish of Santa Ana
7. St. James parish of Santiago
8. San Blas parish of San Blas
9. St. Peter's parish of San Pedro
10. St. Joseph's Parish in Bethlehem
11. Virgin Nativity Parish Almudena
12. Virgen de los Remedios church of Santa Catalina
13. Purified Virgin parish of San Pedro
14. Our Lady of Bethlehem in the parish of Bethlehem
15. Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception also called "La Linda" Cathedral.

After the procession of images, these are kept in the Cathedral where they will remain until the "eighth", that is, until eight days after Corpus Christi. The day of the "eighth" begins with another procession of the Blessed followed by various saints and Virgin to return to their parishes of origin once the procession. And in the parish of the image, in the effervescence of the party and in the midst of the excitement with music and alcohol, the new butler or "carguyoq" undertake, ie the person who bear the expenses of the festival for the next year.

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