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Santurantikuy: The traditional christmas fair in Cusco city

18 December 2015

Every December 24th, in the main square of Cusco fair oldest popular and folkloric art and high quality in Peru is performed: Santurantikuy fair.


More than 1,000 artisans from different parts of the region who come to sell their works of jewelry, embroidery, basketry, carved, ceroplastía, toys. It is that in Quechua means Santuranticuy Santu (saints) and Ticuy (sales), ie, the "sale of saints".


The tradition is that every year, the Manuelitos, St. Joseph, the Virgin Mary and the Magi children change their clothes. With that assurance, artisans, with months of anticipation are dedicated to making innovative outfits because they know that people will buy anyway by the usual earnest.


The image of the Niño Manuelito created by craftsmen with different shapes. Some have brown skin and curly hair. Others have few months old and a teenager. Some wear clothing typical of the Andes with chullo color (cap) and sandals (sandals). There are also especially rich Manuelitos with gold vestments. Some are laughing and other glass sheds a tear as it has a Espinito nailed her tiny foot. Some have their faces with red plates and a mischievous look. Your body maintains its open arms in welcome. Others have sculpted, tired and almost asleep; sometimes thoughtful and smiling. Also there crawling, lying back or side.


There are crafts brought from the most remote communities of Arequipa, Puno and Bolivia. According to the advance of the day, the products begin to lose money because the artisans have not come so far to return to their hometowns with their own goods. This is an annual sales. It is a show that is within reach of every budget.


The fair is organized by the Municipal Company of Festivities of Cusco (EMUFEC), in coordination with various sectors, from years ago has arranged a logistic system which guarantees the safety, order and cleanliness during this activity.


Some accounts of the colony, which were written around the seventeenth century, relate that the Spanish priests, roamed the communities trying to catechize native populations. They say that Christmas times they spoke of Emmanuel, the child born in Bethlehem whose name means "God with us."


But despite the insistence of the Catholic religion, the Andean never forgot their religious traditions. It is that for them nature had its own spiritual representations: Apu (mountain spirit), the Pachamama (Earth) and Inti (Sun) as divine maker. So the religious syncretism emerged, respect for the Spanish faith and the conservation of their own beliefs.


It was then, that after the establishment of the Spanish colony in Peru's Cusco region -in began to celebrate in every community Santurantikuy party every December 24. And most importantly, births were worked by local artisans themselves.


In 1937, the fair was in danger of disappearing from the sale of imported births, so the American Institute of Art, the oldest and traditional cultural entity Cusco began to select the best local births, rewarding them and buying them to promote sales to reassess the tradition. Today this institution preserves the best parts of Santuranticuy the last 60 years. In 2009, the fair was declared Cultural Heritage of the Nation.

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