Feast of the Cross – Cruz Velacuy

Some useful information

Cruz velacuy in Madre de Dios has the purpose of paying homage to the crosses that exist in our region. This tradition was introduced by the high Andean settlers who came to this part of the jungle and brought their customs and celebrations with them.

One of the first Catholic elements used very effectively was the Cross, in the case of the Tawantinsuyo, the crosses were located in the various places and sacred sites, which were abode or shrine of the Andean gods, being a symbol of good against the evil, is present everywhere and at all times, permanently deserving the spiritual invocation.

This celebration took place in the first decades of the 18th century. When at that time it was a relatively humble family holiday without the importance it has today. The cross is a symbol of Christianity in the same way for Catholics is the representation of the passion of Jesus Christ.

After the Spanish conquest, the cross was one of the elements of struggle and ideological quarrel to evangelize the Americans and also to facilitate their submission, so their worship and use were obligatory in the new world, the “extirpators of idolatries” By destroying their Inca sanctuaries they were very careful to place crosses in their place.

The celebration of the cross usually has a steward or “carguyoq” the person who voluntarily agreed to organize and make most of the expenses for the celebration, who is almost always a person with high resources and owner of a house where an altar will rise for the cross.

The beginning of the festival is on May 2 with the descent of the cross from the top of the hill or sanctuary where it is. On the 3rd of May it is carried out in the whole area of ​​Cusco and in recent years also in Puerto Maldonado universal sense and with much hullabaloo, is to worship the cross.

May month when the fields begin harvesting the corn or harvest the festival of the holy cross is very interesting, because all the crosses are illuminated and this is called the feast of the “cruz velacuy” or “vigil of the cross”

This festival is carried out with enough solemnity since the crosses according to Catholic ideology, are the protectors against all negativity. In the evening the evening that is attended by the whole neighborhood, the past butlers, relatives, etc. takes place. Which consists in turn of making vigil of the cross, all night, a bonfire is lit in front of the altar that in the Province (Paruro of Cusco) they call it the “cconucuy” which is to bring the trunk of good thickness they say ” machu ccuyu “which is its Castilianized form.

In the festivity of the cross, the chicha parureña is inevitable or “quellu aja” is an essential drink made naturally.

The joy continues to the rhythm of an orchestra (harp, violin, quenas and accordion) that play popular songs for all the attendees who dance very animated, also drunk with aguardiente and pisco. At midnight you can taste the lamb broth and the parish cancacho with all those present, that same night it is also announced to the butler for next year.

On May 3, which is the central day, an Andean Catholic ritual is celebrated, which is the celebration of mass in the church of the Province of Paruro, for which the cross is moved in procession accompanied by an indigenous band of the place. Then the cross returns to the butler’s house also called “cargo wasi” where it is placed once more on his altar.

At midday the mayordomos offer a festive lunch and during the afternoon the party continues with lots of drink and music, the next day is the “kacharpari” (the farewell party) takes place during the morning until noon where move the cross to its place of origin where it will be until next year.