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El Señor de los Temblores – a remarkable Peruvian festival
The Peruvian festival El Señor de los Temblores (translated as ‘Lord of the tremors’) takes place every year in the city of Cusco over Easter (Holy Week. or Semana Santa), running from late March to early April. This celebration is a good example of the fusion of Andean (Incan) and Christian religions.
The festival has its origins in the the year 1650, when a major earthquake took place in Peru. As the story has it, as the city of Cusco shook, the inhabitants were protected by a canvas painting of the crucifixion of Jesus in the Cathedral of Santo Domingo. It is said that the local people seized the painting, named Cristo de la Buena Suerte, and held it up to the sky, causing the tremors to lessen and the earthquake to subside, saving the inhabitants of Cusco from disaster. Ever since then, El Señor de los Temblores, as he was subsequently known (also Taytacha Temblores), became the patron saint of Cusco.
A statue of the Señor de los Temblores is kept in the Cathedral, which is built on the site of the ancient temple built to honour to the pagan god Apulla Tikse Wiracocha. The statue is kept in the cathedral the whole year round until 7pm on Easter Monday.
The celebration begins at the Plaza de Armas, and the image of El Señor de los Temblores is carried in a procession through the streets of Cusco to bless people in a ceremony mirroring the way the Incas used to carry the mummies of their priests and chieftains overhead through the streets. The climax of the ceremony takes place with the salvia esplendes, or ñucchu flower, being (offered to the ancient gods Kon and Wiracocha by the Incas) being used to weave a crown for El Señor de los Temblores.
The flower is a striking crimson color, and its scattered petals represent the blood of Christ to the followers of the procession. The statue itself has turned black over hundreds of years from all the smoke and incense used in the celebration. The statue was brought as a gift to Cusco from King Charles V of Spain. Nobody has ever dared to clean the statue, so it remains black.
Semana Santa, Holy Week, is a wonderful time to be in Cusco and an opportunity to experience a truly unique, centuries-old tradition resulting from a mixture of religions and cultures.
Do you want to experience this remarkable festival? Viventura and Culture Xplorers have teamed up to offer a fantastic new trip to Peru with a strong focus on culture and tradition. Active Adventures into the Cultural Heart of Peru takes in the festival of El Señor de los Temblores and much more. Click here to find out more, or contact us now by email or telephone:
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