|This is Corpus Christi.|
John Chapter 6 is the chapter in which the pinnacle of our Catholic faith, the Eucharist (Holy Communion), is laid out. As Catholics, we believe the words of Jesus when he repeatedly states that His flesh is true food and His blood is true drink that we must consume to have life in us. John 6:66--the only point in the Bible in which disciples left Jesus for doctrinal reasons. Corpus Christi means the Body of Christ, and this is the holiday for the Eucharist, in which Christ comes down from heaven like manna to transform the bread and wine in to His body and blood so that we may live.
Like any good Catholic celebration, the holiday took place over two days with a big feast. The first day was la Entrada de los Santos- the Entrance of the Saints. The faithful carried large statues of patron saints from each neighborhood (15) in preparation for Corpus Christi the next day. There was singing and dancing and feasting this day.
The second day consisted of Mass in the Plaza de Armas. People coming to take part in the Mass and then to follow the procession of the consecrated host around the square filled the Plaza. I saw more religious, priests, monks, nuns, sisters, and seminarians, in one place than I have in my whole life. They were following directly behind the consecrated host with plumes of incense, the ringing of church bells, and murmurs of prayers in Spanish and Quechua filling the air.
I walked quietly home from the Plaza de Armas, soaking up all the energy and beauty around me. Chiruichu was waiting for me. It's a traditional dish unique to Cusco eaten every year on Corpus Christi. It consists of Guinea Pig, sausage, dried meat, fish eggs, chicken, cheese, seaweed, toasted corn, and tortilla (basically Peruvian cornbread). It's meant to be eaten cold and with your hands, getting a little bit of everything in each bite. Afterwards, the family and I went up to the roof to chew on fresh sugar cane for dessert.
I'll try to have a video with more pictures posted soon, but the internet's spotty and I'm leaving for Machu Picchu tomorrow.