Throughout the month, the city will be decorated with the rainbow flag of Cusco and folkloric dance parades will take place daily between the 10th and 20th of June. We’ll be publishing the day-to-day program next week, but did want to share the highlights right away. From the Inti Raymi Festival to the Night of Light & Sound, these are the biggest events for Cusco’s Jubilee month, celebrated this year from May 29th through July 03rd:
Cusco’s Jubilee Month will be officially launched on Sunday, May 29th, with a ceremonial offering to the Pachamama in the main square (the Plaza de Armas) of Cusco. City authorities, locals, and visitors give up traditional offerings of chicha and coca leaves as they ask the Incan personification of the earth, the Pachamama, for a successful month of festivities.
On Friday 17th, there’ll be a Float Parade that beginsin the main square of Cusco at 1pm and processes through the city’s main streets. It differs from the month’s almost daily dance parades in that this one includes large floats in addition to music and dance troupes. Local students from the school of arts prepare their pieces for months, making this parade the most anticipated
Among these, one of the most anticipated is the Night of Light and Sound, which will take place on Saturday, June 18th. An open-air concert is held in the Plaza de Armas, alongside a laser and light show that projects onto the Cusco cathedral. The night ends with a 30-minute long fireworks show. It’s best to arrive around 8pm, because 80 thousand people pack the square, so entering and exiting can be difficult.
(Since most of these events begin or end in the Plaza de Armas, where our hostel Pirwa Posada del Corregidor is located, we recommend this location if you’ll be visiting Cusco in June. Just be aware that the main square is pedestrian-only during this time, so taxis will only be able to bring you close to the square, not into it.)
The Civic Parade will take place on Thursday, June 23rd. More than 250 local institutions take part, parading our dancing through the city for 16 hours.
The main event of the month, however, and of the year, is the Inti Raymi Sun Festival, which this year will take place on Friday, June 24th. It will begin in the morning at Qorikancha Sun Temple at 9:00am. This part of the celebrations is known as the Sun Greeting, after its completion, all of the dancers and actors process to the main square of Cusco to perform a coca leaf ritual and deliver a speech to the mayor of Cusco in an event known as the Meeting of the Times. At 1:45pm, the main event begins at Sacsayhuaman Fortress. These are the central ceremonies of Inti Raymi, pre-Columbian rites involving chicha, fire, and llama sacrifice and divination. (Real llamas are no longer used.)
You can purchase tickets for the part of the ceremonies realized at Sacsayhuaman Fortress from EMUFEC, the local entity in charge of city festivals. This ensures a great view and the ability to hear what is going on. Meanwhile, many locals gather along the surrounding hillsides from early in the morning, hoping to catch the events from farther away but for free.
Those who want an explanation of what is going on can arrange for an Inti Raymi tour with local guide- you can contact our own agency, Pirwa Travel Service, for more information about this option.
Finally, there’s the Kacharpari Food and Music Festival, which will close Cusco’s Jubilee Month on Sunday, July 3rd. It will take place in Plaza San Francisco, two blocks from the main square of Cusco, and will offer traditional dishes from the region. (If you’re staying in Pirwa Colonial, our hostel in Plaza San Francisco, you’ll find yourself right in the middle of the action.)