Lately, I’ve been really into discovering new ways of living, trying to learn more about how people around the world -although all of us come from a different country- connect with one another. Because, despite the fact that some of you might be Spanish, Greek or American, the world we live in is just one and you can’t tell the many great things about other cultures you’re missing until you start to step out of your comfort zone, research and travel the world.
That’s why I wanted you to know a little bit more about Peru, one of the countries with the richest cultural past of America. Besides the archeological finds like Machu Picchu that made it one of the most visited countries ever, Peru has a whole history of really interesting traditions that will make you want to discover everything by yourself.
To make it more concrete, I’ve put together 9 facts about Peru that confirm this culture is just awesome, even more than you thought:
1. 43 different native languages coexist together
Source: Spiritual Travels
Due to how powerful and huge the Inca empire was, nowadays 43 different native languages exist in Peru. Some of them are the Shipibo, Ashaninka and Aguaruna. But the official ones are Spanish, Quechua and Aymara.
Curious fact: Garcilaso de la Vega labeled Cusco “the belly bottom of the world”.
2. 3000 popular celebrations per year take place in Peru
Peruvian people have a strong spirituality. A part of their beliefs have been inherited from the Spanish Colonization, which left behind 3000 popular celebrations per year. The major religion is Catholicism, but they live with freedom of worship, meaning that a lot of these celebrations come from pre-hispanic cultures and are dedicated to nature and “Pachamama” (Earth Mother).
If you make the math, it’s over ten celebrations per day. Really impressive, how’s that even possible?
Curious fact: Inca celebration Inti Raymi, The Festival of the Sun, is one of the most relevant ones. It takes place in Cusco and honors the sun god with colourful parades, dance and music.
3. Peruvian cuisine is one of the best rated in the world
Not many people know, but peruvian cuisine is one of the best rated and varied in the world. Their food is all about mixing different kinds of colours, textures and ingredients (especially potato, corn, fish and seafood). Just in the coastal area, you’ll be able to find more than 2000 typical soups. Would you dare to try them all?
Curious fact: More than 55 varieties of corn are grown just in Peru, including different colours like yellow, purple, black and white.
4. Vendimia Fiesta: one of the most visited festivals
Also related to its gastronomy, one of the most visited festivals from all over the country is the one dedicated to the Vendimia, where people get on a barrel full of grapes, smashing them in order to prepare liters and liters of wine - which is a very important product in the region.
Curious fact: This festival is celebrated since 1950 in Ica, the finest wine-producing region in the country. Every year, before starting the festival itself, a “queen” is elected to smash the first grapes.
5. They’re the oldest South American civilization
Peru is the oldest South American civilization, which was the cradle of most neighboring countries. Its millennial influence has been incredibly huge in sister cultures, mostly due to their geographical location.
Curious fact: The Inca Empire was actually larger than the Roman’s, stretching over 40.000 kilometres.
6. Traditional crafts as an expression of the everyday life
The country’s artisans represent a true expression of the everyday life of its people and the traditional arts and crafts that have lived on from the pre-columbian period. They usually use wood, ceramic, silver and colourful fabrics to make really high quality pieces. Between all of them, ponchos of Monsefú and rock carvings from Huamanga are the ones that stand out the most.
Curious fact: In Ayacucho, entire towns (such as Sarhua and Quinua) live out just of mastering traditional arts.
7. Most of Peru is covered in rainforest
Naturewise: 60% of the country is covered in Amazonian rainforest -this figure is only surpassed by Brazil.
Curious fact: Two of the largest point break beaches (the ones that create multiple waves at the same time) in the world are in Peru. So if you’re a surf lover, don’t miss to visit Chimaca and Mancora. Their sunsets are awesome!
8. Dances that pictures nature
As you may have noticed, traditions and remains of historic past are a big deal in Peru and so is dance. In fact, one of Peru’s national dances is “marinera” and it mimics the mating process of a bird.
Curious fact: The woman moves the folds of her skirt to represent the flying of the animal, while the man struts all around to catch her attention.
9. Shamans to heal the spirit
Western medicine (since sometimes it’s pretty expensive) is not that remarkable in Peru. As a matter of fact, many Peruvians generally turn to shamans or curanderos, who are spiritual healers.
Curious fact: Even a former president of Peru, Fernando Balaunde, employed the wisdom of a curandero to guarantee the wellbeing of his family.
As you might’ve guessed, I could be writing all day about tradictions and curious facts about Peru. At least for me, this culture is a great example of putting in common past and present, that really embraces the history, the tribute to nature and the pride they feel for their country.
Now you know a little bit more about the peruvian people, don’t ever stop sailing the world and discovering what’s next to come! Your soul will grow without you even noticing it!
Source: Pedro Szelkely.