Happy Birthday Peru!
July 28th, 2015 – It’s Independence Day #194! Like any Independence story, Peru’s path to freedom is full of battles, losses and victories, but mentioning all the suffering would only add sadness to this celebration. Instead, it’s best to celebrate the positive outcome of years of struggles and efforts.
The Declaration of Independence took place on July 15th, 1821. On July 28th, 1821, General Jose de San Martin announced it in the Plaza Mayor of Lima:
DESDE ESTE MOMENTO EL PERÚ ES LIBRE E INDEPENDIENTE POR LA VOLUNTAD GENERAL DE LOS PUEBLOS Y POR LA JUSTICIA DE SU CAUSA QUE DIOS DEFIENDE. ¡VIVA LA PATRIA!, ¡VIVA LA LIBERTAD!, ¡VIVA LA INDEPENDENCIA!
Translation: “From this moment on, Peru is free and independent by the general will of its people and by the justice of its cause that God defends. Long live the nation! Long live the freedom! Long live the independence!”
Of course, many more years had to pass before we were truly free, and many more years went on before the Declaration of Independence, but this is the official day we celebrate. It’s amazing what this particular day does to us. Firstly, it’s a two-day celebration: 28th and 29th of July, the first day celebrating the proclamation of Independence, and the second day is to celebrate our Armed Forces and National Police. This year, it was a Tuesday and a Wednesday, and the government decided that, at least for the public sector, Monday should also be part of the holiday. Considering most people don’t work Saturdays and Sundays, that’s enough time to take some lovely “vacations” and travel! Many people choose national destinations over traveling abroad, such as Cuzco, Arequipa, Tarapoto and Piura, according to the travel agency Despegar.com.
Another lovely thing is how every building and house has a Peruvian flag on top during the month of July, and lately even some cars have joined this tradition, putting a flag on top of their windows, to show how proud we are of being Peruvians. Then the President has to give his long-awaited speech, addressed to the nation regarding of how much we’ve accomplished over the last year. This tradition began with General San Martin himself, and has been going on to this day. The day begins with a Mass of Te Deum, celebrated by the Archbishop of Lima. The following day, the Great Military Parade begins, where the Peruvian Armed Forces and our National Police participate in a grand procession. Every military institution is represented, and almost all of Peru’s weaponry is on display, except for key pieces due to a Defense Policy. Finally, when it comes to newly elected presidents, it is on the 28th of July when he assumes his duties, and thus make his first Address to the Nation.
But what is most surprising in this new era of technology and social media, is to literally see how all Peruvians, either living in Peru or abroad, are joined by one unique feeling, the feeling of being born in a rich land full of lovely landscapes and amazing food, colorful dresses, so many dances, languages, dialects, flora, fauna, and, of course, the warmth of every smile that makes us be proud of being Peruvians. And, as most of us would say, ¡QUÉ VIVA EL PERÚ, CA*AJO!