Semana Santa Celebrations: Easter in Arequipa

Easter is celebrated widely throughout South America, but especially in Peru! And especially in Arequipa as we found out…

We went into iPeru hoping to get some information on the weekends festivities, unfortunately all we got was a list of mass times. After a bit of further probing we managed to find out there would be a typical food festival and, following the mass on Sunday up at the beautiful plaza de Yanahaura, they would burn a papermaché “Judas”. Horrah!

Here is how our Semana Santa in Arequipa looked in photos…

The burning of Judas

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6.30am.. Judas, totally unaware of what was about to happen.
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At around 7.30am they set him ablaze! Starting with his dirty cigarette
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Followed by his evil flaming eyeballs! Then his head started spinning around and his body exploded!
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Celebrations finished with multicoloured firecrackers

The Processions

We also bore witness to 3 or 4 processions, these consisted of 1000’s of people filling the streets in a religious parade following an effigy of Jesus either on the cross or in a coffin. There were also brass bands, priests and ladies dressed in red, burning candles and incense. Quite the sight to behold!

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The 1st procession as it heads through the Plaza de Armas
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Jesus on the Thursday, before his internment
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The ladies shrouded in red, and thick, pungent clouds of incense
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The funeral procession was held later in the evening on Good Friday
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It’s very surreal watching a funeral procession for Jesus Christ.. Seeing him in the coffin even more so
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Mary mourning

La Fiesta!

My favourite part about the whole weekend was the gastronomy festival at Parque Selva Alegre, north of the city. Semana Santa is a week for celebrating with family and eating piles of food. We got a plate loaded up with the traditional food of the area, shared a couple of cervezas with two friendly Arequipañans, met the local candidate who was working the crowd handing out bottle openers and matches branded with his parties colours, and had a boogie with the amazing Arequipañan band…

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Rocotto relleno, pastel de papa, pastel de tallarin, crunchy corn, a big chunk of meat, arroz verde and a vege fritter! What more could you ask for except a cold glass of Arequipeña to wash it down!
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There were around 20 stalls all serving different traditional delicacies
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The place was packed! And we were the only tourists in sight..
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I wish I knew the name of this band because man they rocked!
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His newest fan!

We really enjoyed being a part of such a fun and traditional week in Arequipa and the Colca Canyon 🙂


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