This July 28th, help kick off Fiestas Patrias, which commemorates 188 years of Peruvian Independence! Peruvians celebrate this time-honored event with 2 full days of festivities which includes exciting bullfights, parades, fireworks, fairs and exhibitions. Indigenous crafts, from the elaborately embroidered textiles of the Paracas to the glorified monoliths of the Chavín, and traditional foods, including Alfajores and Ceviche, are showcased during these celebrations. This year, Peruvian Connection invites you to join in the festivities of sweet liberation with recipes, history and our famous textiles.
After 300 years of advanced development, the prominent Quechua Empire of the Incas collapsed in 1533, shortly after the arrival of the Spaniards. Lima was quickly established as the imperialistic capital for Spanish economy. With the vast wealth that was developing in Peru, exploitation of mines and workers erupted; killing millions of Indians as labor increased and food supplies dwindled. Unfortunately, internal uprisings for independence were continually stifled by Peruvian Royalists helping the Spanish crown. In the end, revolution was bred by foreigners: Argentinean general José de San Martín and Venezuelan commander Simón Bolívar.
San Martín, revered as the Father of Independence, landed on the shores of Peru in 1820, quickly capturing the port of Pisco. After monumentally claiming victory over Lima, he officially proclaimed Peruvian Independence on July 28th 1821. However, Spanish domination over South America was not fully achieved until 1824 under the commanding forces of Simón Bolívar, who took over leadership of the liberation movement in 1822. He secured Peru’s Independence by defeating the Spanish troops at the battles of Junín and Ayacucho.
Fiestas Patrias begins at dawn every year on July 28th with a 21 cannon salute. Ever since Independence, it has been customary for the President of Peru to deliver an Address to the Nation, which provides an account of the nation’s progress to date. If a new president has been elected, it is on this day that he will assume his active duties.
The second day of festivities, July 29th, is in honor of the Armed Forces and the National Police of Peru. On this morning, the Archbishop of Lima commemorates the Mass of Te Deum, an early Christian hymn of praise. Following mass is The Great Military Parade, in which the Peruvian Armed Forces and the National Police participate in a grand procession. Along with these official ceremonies, decorations, foods and crafts fill the streets of Peru.
To join in the festivities, wear your red and white, the national colors of Peru, whip up a batch of traditional Alfajores (see recipe in our Christmas newsletter) and enjoy a cool, refreshing Pisco Sour, the national cocktail of Peru. To prepare this wildly popular cocktail, simply combine 1 egg white (or 2 T pasteurized egg white), juice of ½ lime, 2T sugar and 2 oz of Peruvian pisco (1/4 C) and blend until frothy. Top with a few drops of Angostura bitters for an authentic taste. If Peruvian pisco, a Muscat-grape brandy, is unavailable try grappa or white rum as a substitute. Salud!