Occurs in the week before Corpus Christi and also in mid September.
Qoyllority is a Quechua word which means Shining Snow, and in Quechua "The Lord of Qoyllority" translates as Taytacha Qoylloriti. As Quechua is a largely spoken language you are likely to see Qollor Riti spelt in any of the following ways: Senor de Qollyr Riti/Qoyllur Riti/Colloritty.
This an old religious procession that is practiced by those who live in the high Andes. Every year, days before the celebration of Corpus Christi, every small village or clan sends a delegation with colorful dancers and "pauluchas" to the Chapel of the Señor (or Lord) of Qoylloriti. This Chapel is situated spectacularly at the base of the Sinakara mountain, some hours walk above the village of Mawayany, at 4600 meters above sea level. It has spectacular views of the much venerated Apu, Ausangate.
The "pauluchas" are costumed dancers who carry alpacas and are intermediaries between the Lord Qoylloriti and his men. They begin their climb of the Sinakara glacier at 4am, a ritual where they ask for their animals to grow well. They go back with an iceblock or a block of snow which they use to purify humanity. They are charged with taking care of the small stream in the mountains.
The origin of the small holy stream is explained by a legend. According to the most well-known version, a mestizo boy with blond hair and rough looks, helped a alpaca shepherd take care of his animals. The father of the shepherd heard of this, and in order to thank the boy for helping him with the animals, he decided to make new clothes for him of best quality. The Bishop of Cusco was interested by this story and wanted to get to know the young boy, and asked the people of the church of Ocongate to investigate the situation. The people of the church didn't discover the boy, who disappeared and the shepherd died of sadness. At the place where this occurred an image appeared of the crucified Christ, reflected in a rock. It is here you can find the Templo del Señor de Qoylloriti, which is constructed over the rock.
The Ten Nations or ten brotherhoods that belong to Paucartambo, Qusipicanchis and Tahuantinsuyo provinces attend the event. Masses ascend to Mount Sinakara and simulated battles lead to the cohesion of all the brotherhoods and make this a very special and colorful festivity, surrounded by the cold of the awesome scenery.
During the celebration, the people that have participated in the procession praise Our Lady of Fatima and ask for good luck in business, life and the future.
The end of the procession takes place at the ancient Inca capital of Cusco with the celebrations of Corpus Christi, when the streets filled with people and the squares with music and color.
It is easy to participate in Corpus Christi in Cusco! In fact, if you are anywhere near the centre of town in the days preceding the event, you are likely to encounter one of the saints making their steady progress towards the Plaza de Armas.
The Andean celebration of Señor of Qollor Riti is connected to Corpus Christic. Check out our QollorRiti Pilgrimage