I didn’t sleep through every major festival in Cusco. The feast of Corpus Christi celebrates the body of Christ and events are held around the world by some Catholic, Anglican and Lutheran Churches.
Held in June sixty days after Easter Sunday, the feast in Cusco is particularly popular. The night before the celebration local dishes including the Peruvian delicacy of guinea pig are prepared and consumed, and the following day after Mass processions from different churches around the city carry statues of saints and virgins to Cusco’s Cathedral. There they ‘greet’ the body of Christ; the statues made to do a little bow or curtsey by their bearers.
On a side note, for the first month of our round the world travels I carried a spare wallet to be handed over quickly in the event of a mugging. The idea was the mugger would be delighted in the ten bucks and expired Essex County Council library card found in the wallet and not express any curiosity to the whereabouts of all the rest of our money and valuables squirreled about my person.
Not being religious Corpus Christi took me by surprise in how quickly the Plaza de Armas, Cusco’s central and historic square, filled with people, starting with the steps leading up to the Cathedral and eventually crowding the Plaza and the side streets leading to it. Foreigners looked on from the windows of the pubs dotted around the square.
Having never experienced the festival before I chose poorly in deciding to head off to the bank to withdraw the money needed to pay our rent and returning to the Plaza got caught up in the crowds. Cusco is notorious for pickpockets and I was easy meat and could feel unseen hands rummaging through my pockets.
Fortunately all that was lost was the mugging money. My hands managed to protect the vast majority of our cash and the camera used to take these pictures: