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FIESTAS PATRIAS: PERUVIAN INDEPENDENCE DAY

FIESTAS PATRIAS: PERUVIAN INDEPENDENCE DAY

CELEBRATING PERU’S INDEPENDENCE DAY

As a fiercely proud and independent nation famous for its love of fiestas, festivals and the carnival, it comes as little surprise that one of the biggest events in the Peruvian calendar is a two-day national holiday in July to celebrate Peru’s independence from Spain in 1821.

Known as the Fiestas Patrias Peruanas, the holiday falls every 28 & 29 July and offers a chance for the country to unite in celebration of the victorious Wars of Independence and the country’s armed forces

Throughout July on the run-up to the holiday, the red and white national flag becomes a ubiquitous sight, while immediately before the holiday public parks and plazas across the country become stages of criolla folkloric musical performances.

As the holiday itself begins, a number of official and ceremonial acts are fulfilled in Lima by the country’s leaders, including a symbolic journey by the President to the Congress of the Republic where he delivers his Address to the Nation, his account of the country’s progress over the past 12 months.

On the second day, the Archbishop of Lima performs Mass to an audience of leaders and national dignitaries before the Great Military Parade begins.

For those less interested in military displays, the Fiestas Patrias Peruanas are accompanied by some of the most enthusiastic partying in the annual calendar. The colorful floats, long dragons, costumed performers, and bands of the Gran Corso (Great Parade) stretch several blocks and snakes through downtown Lima, around Parque Kennedy in Miraflores, and into Barranco. Outside of Lima, celebrations are also often tinged with local customs and indigenous traditions.

Ever keen to rival the capital, Peru’s second city Arequipa puts on an equally grand display with street processions and parties, with music and dance that last late into the night.

In Cusco, tourists enjoy street parties, fireworks and plenty of pisco while in Cajamarca, Independence Day coincides with a major livestock and agricultural fair with cockfighting, bull running and displays of the fine Peruvian paso horse.

TRADITIONAL FOOD

Lima hosts a national food fair all throughout the week of Independence day, displayinggoodies from the desert coast, the Andean range, and the Amazon jungle.

One of the country's most popular specialties is Anticucho. Anticucho means cut stew meat in Cusco, and while one can find chicken, beef, sausage, and intestine, the most traditional choice is beef heart. During Inca times, the dish was prepared with llama, but the Afro-Peruvian population redefined it using the organ meats available to slaves during the colonial period. It can be intimidating to try, but they’re delicious and a great way to get into the Peruvian spirit. More anticuchos are consumed in July than during any other part of the year!

TRY IT

Though we are not in Peru celebrating Fiestas Patrias, nothing keeps us from cooking a traditional Peruvian dish. The Party Ingredients menu includes one delicious Peruvian classic dish - Seabass and Samphire Ceviche with lime and pink peppercorns. And we are pleased to share the recipe with you:

Ingredients (*for 6)

2 x 120g fillets of seabass (skinned and thinly sliced)

A good pinch of Samphire

For the ceviche dressing:

1 red onion (finely diced)

1 small chilli (finely diced)

small bunch coriander (shredded)

zest and juice of 2 limes

1 tbsp lemon vinegar

100ml / 1tbsp sunflower oil

Salt and caster sugar

Method

Pink peppercorns

Skin the sea bass and cut it into 5mm slices. Sprinkle with sea salt and leave for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, mix all the ingredients for the ceviche dressing together, then season and sweeten to taste. Marinate the fish for 2-4 hours in the ceviche dressing.

Serve with a pinch of samphire and pink peppercorns on top. Enjoy!