“Cruz Velacuy festival”, could be translated as “Velacuy Cross” and it is held in the Peruvian city of Cusco and other Andean villages, in general from May 2rd to May 3th.
This festivity comes from the first decades of the XVIII Century where Priests wanting to evangelize the New World, imposed the cult to the Cross. The Cross was put in all of Inka Sanctuaries, therefore as a result the Cross was assimilated by the Inka culture.
The Cruz Velacuy festivity is held to thank the pre-Hispanic gods for a good and abundant harvest. The Cruz Velacuy is a derivation of the Fiesta de las Cruces (Festivity of the Crosses), a mainly Andean tradition that honors the holy cross in cities across Peru. There is a ceremony where the community decorates the Cross of its church and prepares it for the procession to a neighboring church or community.
The Vigil of the Cross dates back to the reign of the Roman emperor Constantine, who was victorious in battle after seeing a what appeared to be the shape of a cross appearing in the sky.
Preparations for the Cruz Velacuy festivity begins the year before and various traditions are enacted, such as the exchanging of bread and beer between neighbors. In each community a host (CARGUYOQ) is nominated, and their house becomes the setting for the Cruz Velacuy fiesta, with traditional peruvian food being prepared like tripe soup and fried pork.
The CARGUYOQ (or majordomo ), once he has accepted the nomination, is responsible for organizing and managing the cost of the celebration. An altar is also built in his house.
When people have eaten they head into town in a growing procession including majeño dancers and marching bands. Many festival goers bring crosses of all shapes and sizes from their own homes, draped in colorful materials and trinkets.
The group arrives in the church and mass takes place. After this, a priest in white robes blesses and sprinkles all the crosses with holy water.
Then, the procession leaves the church, carrying the variety of crosses, to the sound of music from marching bands and fireworks. The party continues all night with dancing, drinking and merriment – and by some accounts, it is not unknown for children to be born 9 months later and named ‘Cruz’ or ‘Santa Cruz’!
Torre Dorada invites you to participate in these activities which contain catholic elements combined with Andean elements that have been preserved through time, up until now.