Peru has long and rich cultural history. The name Peru means the "land of abundance." The culture of Peru took its shape when affiliation between Hispanic and Amerindian cultures increased. The cultural diversity and geographical situation of Peru allowed the different traditions and ethnicity to exist all together. Influenced by coastal Europe, Peru has undergone several intellectual stages starting from colonial Hispanic ethnicity to European Romanticism after freedom. The earlier part of twentieth century brought “indigenismo” articulated in a new consciousness of Indian culture. Since Second World War Peruvian authors, artists, and scholars like César Vallejo and José María Arguedas have taken part in worldwide scholarly and creative movements.
A Peruvian distinctiveness is most tightly seen among the white elite and huge mestizo communities. The three other cultural groups, Indians, blacks, and Asians have a tendency to have more compound individuality formations as Peruvians. Indians have faced culturally biased and genocidal practices for five centuries against its populace. They are still described as backwards and poorer and carry out the labor works that are tough and less remunerative.
Peru has a distinct culinary culture. The food customs are different in coastal area and the highland, though both regions depend on soups and rice as nutritional staples. While the coastal belt likes seafood and plantains the most the highland residents consume meat, corn, and potatoes more often. A bright example of Peruvian delicacy is Ceviche i.e. fish soaked in ají, a hot sauce made primarily from spicy peppers, tomato, onions and lemon.
African dishes like the cau cau and the mazamorra reflects Peru culture more. An Andean delicacy, roasted guinea pig is also considered as a delicious Peruvian cuisine since pre-Hispanic days.
The following are some of the food items prepared during festive occasions in Peru:
Maize beer is the popular drink in Peru.
The design of the clothes worn by the Peruvian women is a combination of Pre-Spanish days and Spanish Colonial peasant costume. Usually they wear a small rectangular hand-woven shoulder cloth fixed firmly at the front by an ornamental pin. The dress is known as Lliclla in local language.
Women wear a larger rectangular cloth over the back and entangled in front. The dress is called as K'eperina in local language and it is meant to hold children and goods inside. They wear Polleras, colorful skirts made from hand-woven wool cloth known as bayeta and Monteras or hats are also worn by Peruvian women.
Men in Peru usually wear Western-style clothing such as synthetic football shirts and tracksuit pants. Older men are seen wearing dark wool knee-length hand-woven bayeta pants.
Peruvian’s belief of an afterlife follows the Catholic concept of heaven, hell, and purgatory. The indigenous groups are also influenced by the Christian faith of Armageddon and rebirth.
Indigenous population respects the Huacas or sacred mountain places. The Spanish Catholic missionaries are aware of these Andean observances. This is the reason many Catholic churches are built on top of huacas and other pre-Hispanic shrines.
In Peruvian culture, male priests are considered as the most respected persons in society. Nuns are treated well because of their religious commitment to sexual abstinence, compliance, and poverty.
The following are some of the events celebrated by the Peruvians with joy and gaiety: