Fiestas Patrias, or National Holidays, are celebrated on July 28th and 29th. The holiday is one of the most important of the year for Peruvians; similar to July 4th in the United States. Throughout the month of July, homes, office buildings, businesses, and schools are obligated to display the Peruvian national flag.
Celebrations on July 28th commemorate the declaration of independence from the Spanish monarchy by José de San Martín in 1821.
The celebrations begin at dawn with a 21 cannon salute and flag raising ceremony at the government palace in Lima. A mass in the Roman Catholic Cathedral in Lima is celebrated with major dignitaries, including the president, attending.
The president, in his capacity as Head of State, will deliver a speech to the Congress on the state of the Nation. He will talk about the economical, social, and cultural developments during the year. Ceremonies begin when a congressional delegation comes to the presidential palace to invite the President to speak. Then follows a procession through the streets from the palace to the the seat of Congress.
Celebrations on the 29th of July are in honor of the Peruvian Armed Forces and the National Police. The Great Military Parade is a huge and elaborate procession. Representatives of the three military branches and the National Police participate. Almost all of Perú´s weaponry is on display.
As these official National celebrations are occurring in Lima, citizens everywhere within Perú celebrate as well. Local speeches are given, bands play, and marches including school children, and dignitaries crowd through the streets. Town plazas are decorated and events scheduled throughout the two day celebration.