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Exploring the Tradition and Colors of Santurantikuy in Cusco

Santurantikuy is an emblematic celebration in the city of Cusco, Peru. Every December 24th, the Plaza de Armas transforms into a melting pot of tradition and art, where local artisans gather to exhibit and sell their creations, especially figures for nativity scenes.

Origin and Meaning

The name “Santurantikuy” comes from the fusion of two Quechua words: “santu,” which means “saint,” and “rantikuy,” which means “sale.” Therefore, the name roughly translates to “sale of saints.” This event has its roots in the colonial era when the Spaniards allowed the indigenous people to hold a Christmas market to acquire the necessary figures for setting up nativity scenes.

The Fair Itself

Santurantikuy is not just a commercial fair; it is a living representation of Cusco’s culture. Artisans come from different parts of the region, each bringing their skill and creativity. Nativity figures are the stars of the fair: miniature wooden carvings of classic characters from the manger, from the Holy Family to farm animals.

Crafts and Traditions

However, the event goes beyond nativity figures. Visitors can find a wide range of crafts: textiles, ceramics, jewelry, and more. Additionally, traditional dishes like panettone, purple corn drink (chicha morada), and tamales can be enjoyed, completing the multisensory experience.

Cultural and Touristic Impact

Santurantikuy not only preserves local traditions but also serves as a magnet for tourism. Visitors have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the cultural richness of Cusco and take with them unique crafts representing the artistic skill and cultural identity of the region.


Santurantikuy is much more than a Christmas market. It is an event that bridges past and present, tradition and creativity, becoming a legacy that endures through the centuries. For the people of Cusco, it is a chance to share their cultural roots with the world, while for visitors, it is a fascinating window into the authenticity and diversity of Peruvian culture.

This annual celebration, filled with colors, flavors, and crafts, represents the very essence of the Christmas season in Cusco, inviting everyone to be part of an experience that captivates the senses and the soul.

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