Christians around the globe commemorate the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples of Jesus on the 50th day after Easter during the Pentecost celebrations. In Peru, we can find the most enthusiastic and vibrant Pentecost festivities in Ollantaytambo in the Urubamba Valley about 70 km (45 miles) northwest of Cusco.
As so many other religious festivities in the country the celebration of Pentecost, in Ollantaytambo called the Festival Señor de Choquekillka is a merging of Catholic traditions and beliefs brought to the country by the Spanish conquerors with age-old Andean customs, rites and symbols combining the traditional Pentecost celebrations of the Catholic Church with native music, dances, rituals and food of the area.
The 4-day-festival in honor of the patron saint of the city Señor de Choquekillka - by the way a Cultural Patrimony of the Nation since 2008 - starts on the Saturday afternoon before Whitsunday (the 7th Sunday after Easter) with local music and dances, colorful costumes and traditional food on the main plaza in Ollantaytambo. In the evening the statue of the Señor de Choquekillka is taken out of the church at the main plaza and, accompanied by musicians, dancers, faithful and onlookers, brought in a large and colorful procession to the Temple of Santiago. The day ends with more celebrations and fireworks.
The principal day of the celebration is Whitsunday. The day starts early with more music and dancing, costumes and a procession before the traditional Pentecost mass. The rest of the day is filled with more dancing and music in beautiful costumes, lots of great local food, a bull run in the late afternoon and other activities; festivities continue into the night - all at and around the main plaza of Ollantaytambo.
On Monday after Whitsunday celebrations continue with more dances, music, costumes, food and processions as dancers parade from house to house. On Tuesday the Festival Señor de Choquekillka ends with a final procession, returning the statue to its church.
See our Event Calendar for the exact Pentecost date