Despite being in the middle of the rainy season in the Andes mountains, the entire month of February is well-known in Peru for its festivities. The month of Carnaval is a month filled with joy, music, fun, colors and laughter as groups get together to present typical folk dances of the region in parades across the entire country.
One thing I’ve always loved about Peru is the sense of community, and that’s exactly what shines in times like these. It could be a hobby dance group, association, neighborhood or coworkers. The people get together to practice and show off their chosen traditional dance of the region in colorful costumes. These traditional dances are passed down not only in annual celebrations like Carnaval, but are also learned and passed down in family parties, community competitions, and school presentations all year round.
The trademarks of carnaval in Peru (not to be confused with how Carnival is celebrated in Brazil) are flour, water, and paint. You heard me – flour as in the flour you find in your pantry. This is a key “ingredient” of any Peruvian carnival celebration, so be forewarned that attending any carnival celebration or presentation means that you may go home covered in flour. People will literally throw flour at you or even come out of the parade to rub flour all over your face if they catch you.
In 2024, the Municipal Enterprise of Festivities in Cusco has announced that the main Carnaval in Cusco parade will be on Sunday, Feb. 18th this year.