In addition to mouth-watering Peruvian cuisine, from ceviche to Pisco sour cocktails, and our awe-inspiring Andean landscape, Peru boasts many exciting traditional holidays, including the joyous celebration of Fiestas Patrias.
Apart from Christmas, Fiestas Patrias is one of the most important celebrations of the year for Peruvians; a two-day national holiday that takes place in July to mark Peru’s independence from Spain since 1821, led by General José de San Martin – ‘Peru’s liberator’.
While the national flag is displayed throughout the whole month, festivities, for the most part, begin on the night of the 27th July with traditional folk music played in and around the parks and plazas of Peru, ending with fireworks.
Festivities on the 28th, which is the official independence day, are energetic with a 21-cannon salute and a flag raising ceremony at dawn in the capital, Lima. At 9.00am the Archbishop celebrates the Mass of Te Deum in the cathedral. Whenever a new president is elected in Peru, he is sworn in on the 28th and presents his first Address on that day too. The 29th of July is a day to pay tribute to the country’s national police and armed forces and a massive military parade takes place to mark the importance of their role within the country.
The country celebrates Fiestas Patrias with parades, festivities, food, music, and beverages. Attendees can get in the to the spirit of the celebration by waving that Peruvian flag, enjoying traditional treats, and giving a toast with the national liquor, Pisco! These joyous celebrations usually take place in ramadas, open-air buildings with a dance floor under a thatched roof, or one of the traditional shelters.
Music, particularly patriotic songs like the national anthem, is everywhere. As the Peruvians sing and dance to the tunes of their favourite songs late into the evening, the scents of asados, open-pit barbecues, empanadas baking and other favourite national dishes, fill the air.
The rise of globalisation in South America has allowed locals and tourists alike to immerse themselves in the Peruvian culture. By having the opportunity to witness and be involved in important national festivals like this, people from various parts of the world are discovering another part of Peruvian culture in addition to the famed Machu Picchu.
But as all festivities go, it is important that we also acknowledge the history of the celebration. Fiestas Patrias is a vibrant celebration of the ancestors who fought for independence and liberation in Peru a reflection of how we became the culture we are today.