Peru Independence Day: A Guide to Celebrations and History

July 28 is Peru’s Independence Day, and it is one of the most important national holidays in Peruvian communities around the world.

The day commemorates Peru’s independence from the Spanish empire by Jose de San Martín. The following day, July 29, celebrates the establishment of the Republic of Peru. The two days together make up what Peruvians call Las Fiestas Patrias—and it’s a weekend that the entire country loves to celebrate.

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Remitly has made it easy for Peruvians to send money to loved ones back home. And this year, we wish our Peruvian customers, friends, and employees a very happy Independence Day!

A Brief History of Peruvian Independence Day

Peru was first colonized by the Spanish in the 15th century. Even though many other countries in Latin America were fighting for their independence in the early 19th century, Peru remained loyal to the Spanish government. Peru, and particularly its capital, Lima, was a stronghold for royalists.

In 1821, the Viceroy of Peru initiated a military campaign against Chile and its fight for independence. The movement gained little backing, nationally or internationally, and ended with Argentina and Chile signing a treaty to pursue the liberation of Peru. Argentinian commander Jose San Martín entered Lima’s Plaza de Armas on July 28, 1821, and declared the independence of Peru.

However, independence wasn’t fully achieved until 1824, when Simon Bolivar and Jose San Martín won a decisive victory at the Battle of Ayacucho. Antonio Jose de Sucre, one of Bolivar’s finest lieutenants, led a combined force of Peruvians, Chileans, Colombians, and Argentinians to defeat the royalist army and secure a lasting independence for Peru.

Peru’s Independence Day is the equivalent of the mid-September Fiestas Patrias celebration in Chile, which marks the day Chile began fighting for independence from Spain.

6 Facts About Peru Independence Day Celebrations

Learn a little more about how people usually celebrate Peruvian Independence Day:

1. Celebrations start the night before.

On the eve before July 28, streets will fill with criollo music and small parties. The Peruvian flag will proudly fly from nearly every building across every city in the country. In Lima, the official celebration starts the night before in Parque de la Muralla, where a variety of Peruvian music is played on the streets.

2. The festivals include fireworks and dancing.

Official fireworks begin at midnight on July 28, along with a well-known 3D light show at the Fantasia Fountain in the center of Lima.

Festival attendees can gather outside to listen to a wide variety of music, including traditional folkloric and Afro-Peruvian songs, as well as modern rock and reggaeton.

Peru Independence Day

3. The president of Peru’s speech is the main event.

The official main event of Peru Independence Day is the president’s speech, which is delivered in the Plaza De Armas.

He will go over the state of the nation and the progress made during the preceding year. The speech is followed by a “Te Deum” mass led by the Archbishop of Lima.

4. There are events at every plaza.

Pretty much every plaza in the nation will hold traditional dances and music and serve all sorts of food and drinks.

5. You can sample traditional Peruvian cuisine.

There will be even more food carts and vendors on the street than usual, so you will have plenty of opportunities to enjoy authentic Peruvian cuisine.

Options include anticucho, papas rellenas, chicarron, and ceviche. And be sure to try a drink with pisco, one of the country’s most famous liqueurs.

6. Second-day celebrations are very patriotic.

On July 28, patriotic celebrations begin with 21-gun salutes across the country and a flag-raising ceremony in Lima.

The second day of the holiday focuses on celebrating the Armed Forces and the National Police of Peru. It is marked by a large military parade.

More about Peru

Travel to Peru often starts with a visit to Cusco, the historic Incan capital nestled in the breathtaking Andes mountains. Many also make the trek to Arequipa, also known as “The White City,” to take in the stunning colonial architecture.

And, of course, Peru is known for Machu Picchu, a 15th-century Inca citadel located on a mountain ridge in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. There is much to learn about the Incan empire, which included Peru, western and south central Bolivia, and parts of Ecuador and Chile.

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