Kasarakuy, ancient wedding ceremony in the Peruvian Andes

Kasarakuy, matrimonio en Huancarani, Cusco. Foto: ANDINA/Carlos Lezama

Kasarakuy, matrimonio en Huancarani, Cusco. Foto: ANDINA/Carlos Lezama

15:10 | Cusco (Cusco region), Sep. 27.

Andean culture in Cusco is more present than ever. Despite technology improvements and the increasingly cosmopolitan nature of some regions across Peru, ancient traditions remain intact.

En el kasaruky participa toda la comunidad que baila al ritmo de huainos.

That is the case of Huancarani district in Paucartambo province, and one of these traditions is Kasarukuy —a Quechua word meaning "getting married."

Kasarukuy takes place in August and coincides with other Andean celebrations like Miska Churay, Wasichakuy and the offering to Pachamama (Mother Earth).

For that reason, young couples wait until that month to get engaged, just the way their parents and grandparents did.

It is customary that the whole population takes part in the ceremony.

El paltasqa es una de las costumbres andinas. Se regala dinero a los novios.

Kasarakuy adapts to new rituals in case the couple practices different beliefs. For instance, they attend the traditional Christian service first and then proceed to dress in traditional Andean attire. 

Folk songs and dances introduce the rituals and chicha de jora (corn beer chicha) is usually the way to go at the party.

Kasarakuy symbolizes love for those wishing to renew their wedding vows and its ritual features lots of flowers and coca leaves.

It must be noted an Andean wedding comes after many ceremonies prior to the Christian religious service. It all starts with a male courtship at main festivities in town or during specific productive activities.

Nuevas creencias religiosas introducen algunos cambios a celebración.

The ceremony is organized by both families and two wedding sponsors. Each family prepares the decoration, food and drinks for the reception.

On the wedding day, the groom wears a poncho and a recently decorated chullo (a knitted wool cap with ear flaps), as well as pants and a small bag to carry the coca leaves. 

On the other hand, the bride wears a traditional dress specially designed for the ceremony. 

Pork and guinea pig dishes are popular at this festivity. The menu features other customary Andean snacks, as well.

El kasarukuy se celebra durante dos días.

Just as Matrimonio con Palpa —a typical wedding celebration in central Peru— this ceremony includes an out-of-the-ordinary tradition that takes place in the middle of the reception: money is given to the newlyweds. 

Relatives and friends approach the couple while dancing to the rhythm of huayno (a traditional folk dance) to do so.

Other pricey gifts are given during this traditional wedding. It is not unusual to see cars, animals, pots and essentials.

The party used to last a whole week, but nowadays the celebration spans two days.


Published: 9/27/2017
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