Peruvian Ministry of Agriculture announces October 11 as Cuy (Guinea Pig) Day

Preparing plate of chiriuchu for Cusco’s Corpus Christi celebrations.
Preparing plate of chiriuchu for Cusco’s Corpus Christi celebrations. | Source
Cuy features prominently in Corpus Christi celebrations in Cusco.
Cuy features prominently in Corpus Christi celebrations in Cusco. | Source
Asadero Los Cuyes (Guinea Pig Grill)
Asadero Los Cuyes (Guinea Pig Grill) | Source
Roasted guinea pig
Roasted guinea pig | Source

As a way of promoting the consumption of guinea pig in Peru, the Ministry of Agriculture announced that the second Friday in October every year will be National Guinea Pig Day and the first will fall on October 11, 2013.

A few months ago I published an article on HubPages about guinea pigs, but some people were shocked as they kept those animals as pets! However, one has to remember that Peru is a developing country and guinea pigs (or cuy as they are known in Spanish), are an important source of food in the mountain region. Cuy is eaten now all over Peru and even international visitors consume it when they visit the country.

Due to cuy’s importance in the traditional highland diet, the Ministry of Agriculture decided to celebrate a holiday for it and established National Cuy Day on the merit of the importance of the animal to family economies.

Nutrition

Cuy is one of the most nutritious meats there is, with high protein content and comparatively low in fat and cholesterol. It is described as being similar to rabbit and the dark meat of chicken. The animal may be served fried, broiled, or roasted.

Celebrations

The Cusco Corpus Christi is an event where the cuy features prominently and it’s the centrepiece of Chiriuchu, the event’s traditional dish. While the saints of Cusco parade in all their finery in the Plaza de Armas (Cusco’s main square), the Chiriuchu festival takes place in Plaza San Francisco two blocks away.

Statistics

Statistics from last year’s national agricultural census showed that 12 million cuys were being raised in Cajamarca, Arequipa, Ancash, Cusco, Junín, and Ayacucho. There is also a substantial export market for cuy meat, with 11 tons being exported last year, with 90% of it going to the United States.

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