5 Things to Know about Independence Day in Peru
5 Things to Know about Independence Day in Peru
Independence Day in Peru – Most countries who celebrate their independence from another nation will do it in one single glorious day. Well, not in Peru! That´s right, Peru will celebrate their upcoming independence from Spanish rule over the course of two days, on July 28th and 29th. As the Spanish conquest and subsequent rule is such a big part of Peruvian history, it made sense that one day would not be enough. The second day (July 29th) is actually meant to pay respect to the armed forces and national police of Peru. Together, the two days comprise the “Fiestas Patrias”, or national festivities.
All national festivities and celebrations are always mayor events in Peru. But no tourist, or Peruvian, should miss out on celebrating Fiestas Patrias. Having said that, here are five things you need to know about Peruvian independence and the festivities surrounding the celebrations on those days.
The Fight for Peru´s Independence Was the Last of the Spanish American Wars of Independence
Peru´s battle for independence can be said to have begun many years prior with the rebellion of Tupac Amaru II in the late 1700s, but the official battles were led by two men, José de San Martín from Argentina who was the initial leader of the campaign, and Simón Bolívar from Venezuela who eventually took over. Both men believed that for there to be true stability and independence from Spain in their home countries, they needed to secure freedom for the entire continent of South America. José de San Martín, An Argentine general, declared independence for Peru on July 28, 1821, but it was not until the decisive Battle of Ayacucho in 1824 led by Antonio José de Sucre that Peru had successfully secured their independence, as well as that of the whole continent.
The President of Peru Delivers a Message to the Nation Every Independence Day
Every year on July 28th, the president of Peru issues a message to the people and, if it is an election year, is also sworn in as president. In this message, deemed the “Address to the Nation for the National Holidays,” the president describes the economic, social and cultural achievements made by the country over the previous year and then delivers the projections for the achievements to come. The president first attends Te Deum Mass, an important part of the festivities that is held by the Archbishop of Lima.
Parades, Or “Desfiles,” are a Common Sight As a Way To Celebrate Throughout Peru
Parades occur frequently on Peruvian streets on every major (or sometimes minor!) holidays, and those of Independence Day are some of the best of the year. The most famous parade in Peru on July 28 is called the “Gran Corso” and consists of live bands, long dragon ensembles and costumed performers that make their way down the streets of Lima. The next day, the Great Military Parade of Peru celebrating the anniversary of the country´s declaration of independence is held in Lima, as members of the Peruvian Armed Forces and the National Police of Peru march through the city. The parade is presided over by the President of Peru, the Congress of the Republic of Peru, members of the Council of Ministers of Peru, and other invited guests. The parade formally marks the end of Independence Day festivities nationwide.
“La Causa a la Limeña” A Typical Peruvian Dish, Played a Major Role in the Fight For Independence
José de San Martín, in an attempt to raise money to fund the fight for independence, encouraged people to cook what they could find in their kitchens and sell their dish. What they came up with became known as “la causa a la limeña” with “la causa” meaning the cause for independence. The dish, now a popular one in the Peruvian cuisine, consists of things that were found in almost all Peruvian´s homes during this period in history (and still today): potatoes, vegetables, salt, pepper and lemon.
Today´s causa a la limeña typically consist of these same staple ingredients along with avocado, tomato and a touch of chicken or seafood is normally thrown in.
A Brief Explanation Of The Three National Symbols Of Peru That Highlight Several Aspects Of Their Independence
Coat of Arms (Escudo de Armas) – The first version of the coat of arms was designed by José de San Martín. In this version, the sun was shown rising over the Andes Mountains, an allusion to the natives´ worship of Inti, the sun god, and the importance of the mountains, or apus, which also acted as gods. A later version was designed by Simón Bolívar and Congress and is very similar to the version used today. In this version, the national animal of Peru, the vicuña, is featured on a light-blue background representing the fauna of Peru. The vicuña is followed by a cinchona tree, whose quinine served as a powerful anti-malaria drug. Both of these symbols sit above a cornucopia of gold, a symbol of the rich mineral resources of the Peru.
National Flag (Bandera Nacional) – While the flag of Peru has undergone several changes throughout the years, the current flag of Peru is somewhat of an amalgam of several designs used previously. The current flag contains two vertical red stripes on the outer edges, representing the blood shed by those who fought for the country´s independence, and one white vertical stripe in the middle that represents peace and bravery. In the middle is the coat of arms, as described before, that embodies the rich mineral resources, national animal and cinchona tree. The first design, just like the coat of arms, was conceptualized by José de San Martín while later versions were created by other important members of the army, including Bolívar. At one point, the Peruvian flag resembled the Spanish flag to such an extent that it created confusion and made distinction between the two armies difficult!
National Anthem (Himno Nacional) – After declaring independence, José de San Martín called on all professors of poetry and composers to submit their ideas. Upon hearing the version created by José Bernardo Alcedo and José de la Torre Ugarte, de San Martín stood up and exclaimed, “without a doubt, this is the National Anthem of Peru!” Many years later at the turn of the 20th century, the lyrics went through a slight alteration as some viewed them as antagonistic towards Spain, then an ally of Peru. This change was later reversed, and today´s version is similar to the first with minor differences.
Now you know all about Fiestas Patrias in Peru, the National Independence Days and you’re ready to celebrate. Wherever you are in Peru, during the Independence Celebrations, you will have a great time with full of music, fireworks, food and drink. Don’t miss out!