Posted by: Ali | April 4, 2010


Easter in Peru is an interesting event.  Well, series of events, more like.  The whole week leading up to Easter is called Semana Santa, which means the week of saints and has nothing to do with Santa Claus.

The first I was exposed to the idea was when I was talking to an NGO a long time ago that said that they do building projects every Semana Santa, which at first I confused with Christmas.  I soon learned, however, that they meant Easter, and that many Peruvians take the week off to travel, or go camping.

The next time I was exposed to the idea, it was when a friend was telling me about a Peruvian movie, Madeinusa, which is set in a village in the highlands, very far removed from “civilization.”  The movie is set during Semana Santa, but with their own interpretation.  In the film, the villagers believe that since Jesus died for three days before being reborn, and since Jesus is God, for the three days of Easter God is dead, therefore sin does not exist, because He is not watching.  Of course, this is a fictional story, but it’s an example of how different celebrations can be than what I am used to.

Much to my surprise, I discovered that in Lima, everything was closed on Thursday and Friday of Easter week, instead of the Canadian Friday and Monday holidays.  I also discovered that on Thursday one is supposed to visit seven different churches in order to be a proper Catholic.  Also, no one eats meat for the whole weekend, so I was unwittingly forced to be a vegetarian for a few days.

But in the end, we had to show our Peruvian family how we celebrate in Canada:

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  1. I’m glad the wine we brought went to good use! Happy Easter!


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