Anniversary of the Foundation of Trujillo
March 5, Trujillo
On December 6, 1534, the Spanish conquistador Diego de Almagro founded the settlement of Trujillo de Nueva Castilla. Three months later, Francisco Pizarro declared Trujillo part of the Viceroyalty of Peru, leading to the alternative foundation date of March 5. Today’s anniversary celebrations take place from March 1 to March 5. Visitors can expect cultural events, abundant regional cuisine and general revelry.
Festival Internacional de la Vendimia de Ica (Ica Wine Festival)
During First Two Weeks of March, Ica
The 10-day Festival Internacional de la Vendimia de Ica (Ica Wine Harvest Festival) is an annual event in celebration of Ica’s wine harvest. Ica is Peru’s viticulture capital, producing the nation’s best wine and some of the world’s finest piscos. The city of Ica comes alive with copious amounts of alcohol, regional sweets, local and international music, parades, fireworks and more. Keep an eye out for the Reina de la Vendimia (Queen of the Harvest) beauty contest. The newly crowned queen has the honor of trampling around barefoot in a vast vat of grapes.
Fiesta de San José
March 18 to 20 (exact dates vary), Las Delicias District, Trujillo
The Fiesta de San José is a lively celebration of Spanish traditions and colonial heritage. The three-day event features Spanish cuisine and beverages, plenty of music and colorful parades, including processions of Peruvian Paso horses. Bulls are also placed at center stage, with bullfights and a Pamplona-style “running of the bulls.”
Fiesta de la Vendimia de Surco (Surco Wine Harvest Festival)
Dates Vary, Surco District of Lima
The Surco district of Lima hosts a wine harvest festival similar to that found in Ica. The historically agricultural district puts on a good multiday festival, with wine tours and tastings, regional cuisine and, of course, beauty queens stopping around in vats of grapes.
Semana Santa (Holy Week)
March and/or April, Nationwide
Semana Santa, or Holy Week, is the last week of Lent and the week leading up to, but not including, Easter Day. Semana Santa festivities differ throughout Peru, but generally consist of various religious ceremonies and processions. Holy Week and Easter celebrations are particularly interesting (if at times a little somber) in Andean regions such as Cusco, Ayacucho and Junín.
Easter Day in Peru, meanwhile, is short on chocolate but high on religious tradition, having so far escaped the excesses of commercialization.
Cruces de Porcón
Palm Sunday (March or April), Porcón Valley, Cajamarca Region
Palm Sunday (Domingo de Ramos) is the central day of the Cruces de Porcón procession, a day on which the faithful parade through the Porcón Valley carrying towering crosses made from wood and reeds. The crosses, decorated with mirrors and images of the Virgin Mary and other saints, are carried in procession to church, accompanied by prayers in both Quechua and Latin. Among the crosses walks the señorca, a donkey led by a group dressed as angels, symbolizing Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem.
Señor de los Temblores
Easter Monday (March or April), Cusco
In Cusco, one of the main events of Semana Santa is the procession of El Señor de los Temblores (Lord of the Earthquakes). On Easter Monday, the image of El Señor de los Temblores is carried in a procession to the Plaza de Armas, watched by vast crowds gathered along the streets of Cusco and around the main square. Locals have honored the image of El Señor de los Temblores since the Cusco earthquake of 1650. According to legend, the devastating quake stopped when the image was taken out into the streets.