Huancayo and its satellite cities in the Mantaro Valley (although only the fifth largest metropolitan area in Peru) are nationally renowned for their festivals and fiestas. There is always something going on and you always know someone who fills you in on what’s going on. Just this past week – my week of arrival – I already found myself busy with different events:
- One of the projects of the organization I used to work for held an evening shindig to celebrate their anniversary.
- A school hosted a competition for “Youth Day” – students sang, danced, and recited poetry.
- A group of us planned a picnic outing to a nearby town famous for its fresh trout (where we met many other like-minded picnickers), and
- One of the ladies I used to work with had her baby shower – she’s due in a week!
Let’s not forget the flag-raising ceremony and march of the army band held every Sunday, baptismal and confirmatory celebrations, other anniversaries (of schools, organizations, companies, and towns), and other “days” including “Ceviche Day” and “Pisco Day.”
It’s also worth mentioning Peru’s seven major national events:
- They celebrate Carnaval all of February – it’s like the carnaval in Rio where people randomly water bomb you in the streets.
- In April, there is Semana Santa (Holy Week) celebrated around Easter.
- Arguably the largest celebrations revolve around Fiestas Patrias – Peru’s Independence Day.
- October is known as the Mes Morado (Purple Month) in honour of “El Señor de los Milagros” (The Lord of Miracles). Schools and companies get together to create elaborate images on the roads with coloured woodchips to be trampled by purple-clad followers parading through, carrying an image of Christ.
- The first day of November is El Día de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead or All Saints Day). In remembrance of ancestors long gone, families set the table with favourite foods of the deceased and/or share the food at the cemetery.
- Navidad (Christmas).
- Año Nuevo (New Year’s).
It’s going to be a busy year!