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Culture Peru

Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Section editor

Peru : Discover the country's culture

Read

To read:
Lonely Planet: Peru (2010)
Footprint: Peru Handbook (2011)
Footprint: Cusco and the Inca Heartlands (2011)

"Tell no one", by Jaime Bayly (1994). Made into a film in 1998, the original novel deals with societal pressures and expectations in 20th century Peru.

"The time of the hero", by Mario Vargas Llosa (1963). The Nobel Laureate's first major novel, "The time of the hero" follows the story of four friends in a military academy and the macho-peer pressure that they must endure.

Music

To listen:
"Separacion", by Los Tupas.

Peru : Discover the country's history

Historical dates

From the 8th to the 12th Century, the Tiahuanaco civilisation reaches the peak of its prosperity in the Lake Titicaca region.
In 1200, Cuzco is formed, capital of the Inca Empire.
In 1527, the Spanish conquerors arrive.
In 1532, the Inca emperor Atahualpa is captured following an ambush in Cajamarca. The Incas are slaughtered by Pizarro's troops.
In 1535, Lima is formed.
In 1545, mining starts in Potosi, which is today in Bolivia.
In 1686, an earthquake hits Lima.
In 1718, loss of New Granada.
In 1776, loss of Rio de la Plata.
In 1778, loss of Chile.
In 1780, the final Inca uprising, which is ruthlessly repressed.
In 1821, General San Martin declares Peru independent.
1864-1866, war against Spain.
In 1973, Peru joins the Non-Aligned Movement.
In 1980, first of the Shining Path terrorist attacks.
In 1992, arrest of AbimaŽl Guzman, the leader of the Shining Path group.
In 2000, Fujimori is elected president for the third time.
2000, Alberto Fujimori is relieved of his duties for "permanent moral incapacity". Valentin Paniagua, the president of Congress, is appointed interim president. In 2001, Alejandro Toledo is elected president of Peru.
In 2003, Peru signs a free-trade agreement with Mercosur, South America's common market which includes Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.
In 2006, Alan Garcia is elected president of Peru again, 16 years after having left government.
In 2011, Ollanta Humala wins presidential elections.

Peru : Stay up to date on the country's holidays and events

Events

2nd February: Mamacha Candelaria (Puno). This is possibly Peru's most flamboyant festival as more than 200 groups of musicians and dancers take to the street to honour the Virgin of the Candelaria. There is also a procession of priests and believers through the town.
Easter Monday: The Lord of the Earthquake festival is celebrated in Cuzco. Here tourists can see a fusion of Andean religions and Christianity including a procession through the city, flower offerings, and the burning of smoke and incence.
Late May to mid-June: Corpus Christi used to be celebrated nationally but events are now concentrated in Cuzco. Held sixty days after Easter, this religious celebration includes a procession of catholic saints through the town, and Peruvians will make traditional dishes such as Chiri Uchu (guinea pig).
24th June: The festival of Inti Raymi is celebrated to pay homage to the Inca Sun God. Celebrations start at the Temple of the Sun in Cuzco (Koricancha) and later move to the ruins of Sacsahuaman 1.5m outside of the city. Locals are dressed in lavish costumes and two llamas are sacrificed to show commitment to the Sun God.
29th June: Saint Peter's Day, during which the patron saint of fisherman is celebrated on the Peruvian Altiplano.
Late June-early July: Semana Del Andinismo. This is a week to encourage and promote outdoor activities such as skiing, hiking and kayaking.
28th to 29th July: Independance day celebrates Peru's independence from Spanish rule which was obtained in 1824. On this day, Peruvians remember those who helped the country to re-instate its independence such as Tupic Amaru, Pumacahua, Aguilar, and Micaela Bastidas.
Third week of August:Huanuco festival. Locals celebrate the anniversary of the city of Huanuco with parades, processions and music festivals.
15th August: Cerro Azul festival.
15th to 22nd August: Arequipa festival marks the founding of the city in 1540. Celebrations include music festivals, dance competitions, and fireworks.
26th to 29th August: Tacna festival.
30th August: Santa Rosa de Lima festival - a celebration of the patron saint of Peru. This day is mainly celebrated in Lima and Santa Rosa de Quives (43mi from Lima). Peruvians celebrate with street processions and feasts.
23rd to 30th September: Trujillo Spring festival celebrates the arrival of Spring (as the name suggests) in Peru and includes traditional and modern celebrations such as bull fighting and surfing contests.
Early November: Puno festival. This week long festival celebrates the start of the Inca Empire. Visitors are welcome to join in with all events, particularly the main procession from Lake Titicaca to the city's stadium.
25th December: Christmas. Peruvians actually place more emphasis on Christmas Eve than Christmas Day. Mass is usually celebrated at 10:00pm, before returning home to celebrate with a roast dinner and champagne.