Fiestas Patrias: Celebrating Peru’s Independence Day
25 July 2019
Every year Peruvians take a break form everyday life to celebrate an important two-day holiday- Fiestas Patrias, our Independence Day on July 28th, followed by Armed Forces Day on July 29th.
Peruvians are quite patriotic, and on this holiday, pride in our country is evident everywhere, with Peru’s red and white flag flying from most homes and every school and institution.
Schools and most businesses and institutions are closed for this holiday, which is second in importance only to Christmas and the week of Easter.
These are important days for tourism, with many people traveling to enjoy the holiday at Peru’s many wonderful destinations.
History of peruvian independence
Peru won its independence from Spain in 1824, after a successful and hard-fought rebellion of Peruvian-born criollos and native people against the Spanish Crown’s oppressive colonial rule.
Peru’s independence was first proclaimed in 1821 by General José de San Martín, the heroic general who after liberating his native Argentina and Chile, landed in southern Peru.
But liberation from the monarchy took three more years of fighting. San Martín was forced to retire, and Venezuela’s famous liberator, General Simón Bolivar, who had arrived from the north, led his army in two key battles in the Andes- the battle of Junín and the battle of Ayacucho, assisted by the forces of Bolivia’s General José de Sucre.
The South American armies of independence won those battles and thus, Peru, Spain’s most important colony, was the last colony to be freed from Spain.
The liberation process
Truth be told, Peru’s independence took a much longer time than those few years. Indigenous rebellions, although unsuccessful, took place from the 18th century.
The most important was the rebellion of Tupac Amaru II in 1780. Tupac Amaru II, a native leader from the Cusco region, fought bravely and won an important battle at Sangarará, south of Cusco.
However, his native forces were overwhelmed by the Spanish army’s superior firepower.
Tupac Amaru II was drawn and quartered at Cusco’s Plaza de Armas, and executed along with his wife Micaela Bastidas, his son and other family members.
He remains one of Cusco’s and Peru’s greatest heroes in the long struggle for freedom from Spain. In 1814, another important rebellion took place in the Cusco region.
Celebration of independence
Important activities on this day include parades of all military forces, police and national institutions.
On Independence Day, Peru’s president gives his Address to the Nation, often signaling important changes in the national government.
New presidents are inaugurated on this day. Catholic masses take place attended by every dignitary, and 21-gun salutes mark the formal celebrations.
If you visit Cusco during Independence Day, you can experience stately military parades and solemn masses, music and fireworks, centered around the Plaza de Armas.
Please contact us at andeanlodges.com to find out more about Peru’s history, culture and to reserve your trip to Cusco and the beautiful Andes Mountains.