Cusco is a tourist destination where the living culture is felt at every step: in the beliefs and customs of the population, in food, in clothing and in art.
If you have the chance to be in Cusco on December 24th, you have the opportunity to participate in one of the most interesting and oldest Christmas fairs in the world.
It is said that the Santurantikuy dates from the 16th century, when the nobility of Cusco was offered adornments and religious images to be used for Christmas decoration. In fact, Santurantukuy literally means Sale of Saints (santu = saint / rantikuy = sale).
This traditional fair was proclaimed cultural patrimony of the nation in 2009, as it is considered one of the most deeply rooted cultural expressions of religious syncretism.
It is said that culture is a process and therefore we can affirm that cultural expressions are not static, they are in permanent change, as it is the case of the Santurantikuy that over the years has been derived in a fair where not only religious images are offered but also handicrafts and art pieces.
The Santurantikuy takes place at Cusco’s Main Square, where from 00:00hs on December 24th, the artists and artisans of the city prepare their stands to sell various objects. The fair runs throughout the day, until approximately 20:00hs.
It is easy to distinguish the sale sectors of:
It is a tradition for the population of Cusco to go for a family walk to the Main Square to participate in the Santurantikuy fair.
It is common for families to find themselves in the crowd and intense pedestrian traffic generated as a result of Christmas greetings and hugs. The visitors get involved in the local culture and are infected by the merchants’ joy, the smell of incense, the carols and the affection that invade Cusco’s Main Square, just 2.5 blocks from Casa San Blas Boutique, hotel in Cusco.
If you plan to be in Cusco, during Christmas, do not miss the opportunity to walk through this fair and if you feel motivated to do a good action during these special dates, try to support the local economy by buying some crafts or even the herbs or mosses that are brought by the inhabitants of the highest and poorest areas of Cusco who hope to earn an income by taking advantage of the celebration of Christmas.
Tocuyeros 556 Cuesta de San Blas, Cusco - Peru
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