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Date: 2nd half of March-1st week of April
Easter week represents the peak of religious sentiment for the people of the Andes. The departmental capital of Ayacucho, San Cristóbal de Huamanga, located in the central Andes at an altitude of 2,761 meters above sea level, celebrates one of the most intense portrayals of the passion, death and resurrection of Christ.
The week starts out with the entry of Jesus into the city riding on a donkey. On Wednesday, the images of the Virgin Mary and Saint John are paraded in fervent processions through streets carpeted with flower petals until they meet up with the litter bearing the image of Christ, whom they "greet" in the main square. On the evening of Holy Friday, the lights of the city wink out to give way to the Christ of Calvary.
The image sets out from the Monastery of Santa Clara in a procession through the streets on a litter strewn with white roses, followed by the grieving Virgin Mary and lines of men and women strictly dressed in mourning bearing lit candles. The litter, which features thousands of white candles, is simply magnificent.
The litter is then accompanied with prayers and songs throughout the night until the three-hour sermon is delivered on Saturday. After days of grieving, Resurrection Sunday takes on a festive air, Christ is resurrected and appears once more on his litter and is carried through the streets.
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