If you’re heading to Peru in October, you’ll find a good selection of religious festivals and cultural events taking place across the nation. Highlights include a national holiday in remembrance of the Battle of Angamos, and El Señor de los Milagros, the largest religious gathering in South America.
Tierra Prometida de Pozuzo Livestock and Ecotourism Festival
Normally during the first weeks of October, Oxapampa
The “Promised Land of Pozuzo” festival takes place in the town of Pozuzo, located in the Oxapampa province of Peru. When European colonists from Tyrol (Austria) and Prussia (Germany) founded Pozuzo in 1859, they brought with them their own distinct customs. Pozuzo became an important cattle ranching area with its own distinct culture. The Promised Land festival is a celebration of all these elements, providing an excellent opportunity to explore the region’s cuisine, economy and traditions. Typical activities include motocross contests, cockfights and plenty of dancing.
Día de la Marinera
October 7, Nationwide
A day in honor of one of Peru's most popular -- and most beautiful -- dances, the marinera. Marinera displays and contests typically take place in Lima and along the coast of Peru.
Battle of Angamos
October 8, National Holiday
On October 8, 1879, the Chilean navy won a crucial battle against an antiquated and outgunned Peruvian fleet during the War of the Pacific. Despite the significant loss, October 8 later became a national holiday in Peru. The battle, known as the Battle of Angamos, marked the death of Admiral Miguel Grau Seminario, a man widely recognized as Peru’s greatest modern hero. Most large towns and cities honor the anniversary with a military parade.
Piura Jubilee Week
Held During the First Two Weeks of October (exact dates vary), Piura
Piura’s Jubilee Week is a celebration of the region’s cultural heritage. Music, food and plenty of arts and crafts are on show during the day, with enough parties to keep you going long into the night.
Señor Cautivo de Ayabaca
October 13, Ayabaca
The town of Ayabaca, located about 130 miles northeast of Piura (and just a short distance from the Ecuadorian border), is home to the image of the Señor Cautivo de Ayabaca. Legend has it that angels (in the guise of three poncho-wearing strangers) carved the image of the Captive Christ in 1751. Pilgrims from both Peru and Ecuador make the journey to Ayabaca each year, singing and praying as they go. The main event is celebrated on October 13, but parades continue through the flower-strewn streets of Ayabaca until the end of the month.
El Señor de los Milagros
In the mid-17th century, Angolan slaves painted an image of a crucified Christ on the walls of their meeting place in Lima. When an earthquake devastated the city in 1655, the mural was one of the few things left standing. Talk of a miracle spread throughout the parish, and Lima’s faithful came to worship the image, now dubbed El Señor de los Milagros.
Today, the image is the focal point for the largest religious congregation in South America. Processions begin early in the month, with major processions normally held on October 18, 19 and 28. Purple-robed devotees follow the image on its course through the streets of Lima, which themselves are draped in purple
Señor de Luren
Third Monday of October, Ica
Stories of the miraculous image of the Señor de Luren date back to the mid-1500s. Having been lost at sea or in the desert (depending on which story you hear), the image miraculously reappeared in the small village of Luren. Each year, the wooden image of the Señor de Luren, patron saint of Ica, is carried through the streets of the city at the head of a great procession.
Fiesta Patronal de Santa Úrsula
October 21 to 24 (dates vary), Viraco, Arequipa
A popular annual festival in the Arequipa region, the Fiesta Santa Úrsula features traditional spectacles such as bullfights and cockfights, as well as fireworks and street parades.
Día de la Canción Criolla
October 31, Lima
Music lovers shouldn’t miss this celebration of Peruvian música criolla, a colorful blend of African, Spanish and Andean influences. Drinking, dancing and traditional cuisine accompany the festivities (with Halloween as a backdrop).
The anniversary of a Peruvian town or city rarely passes by without at least a day or two of festivities. In October, two of Peru’s jungle towns celebrate their roots: Pucallpa and Surrounding Communities (October 4 to 20) and Tingo Maria (October 15).