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The Varied Culture of Peru

Manali Oak
Have you been to Peru? Here's a description of the culture of this republic, which is made up of diverse art forms, foods, literature, and more. Read on for an insight into the culture of Peru and the lifestyle of its people.
In one of her quotes, Margaret Mead, an American anthropologist, says that understanding other cultures should sharpen our ability to scrutinize more steadily, to appreciate lovingly, our own.
In this  story , we will try to know closely about the culture of Peru. It was shaped by the relationship between Hispanic and Amerindian cultures. Mainly influenced by the Incas, it also reflects influences by the Asian, European, and African cultures.
Peru, located on the western coast of South America, shares its borders with Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia, and Chile. The Pacific Ocean guards it on the West. Lima, its capital, is the largest city in Peru. This country varies greatly in climate and topography.
The arid region along the coast, a region of high mountains in the center, and a large area of forested mountains and lowlands in the east form the three geographical regions of Peru. The geography of a country influences its culture, and this is evident in Peru as well. The culture of Peru is among the most diverse ones in South America.
Peruvian culture encompasses the art, literature, and traditions of this country as also the beliefs and ways of living of the Peruvians. The culture of Peru is a display of diversity at its best! This culture is primarily ingrained in the Amerindian and Spanish traditions.

✦ Peru is known as the heart of the Inca Empire.
✦ Peruvian artistic traditions can be traced back to Pre-Inca cultures.

✦ The construction of Machu Picchu illustrates the architectural achievements made by Incas.
✦ Colonial art was dominated by Baroque. Most art forms of this period focused on religious subjects.

✦ Jose Sabogal headed the indigenous school of painting, which dominated the cultural scene in Peru, for ten years after 1932.
✦ During the 1960s, Fernando de Szyszlo, a Peruvian artist of international recognition, became the main promoter of abstract painting and helped in modernizing Peruvian art.

✦ Peru hosts one of the largest varieties of arts and crafts in the world.
✦ Peruvian art has combined with the art style brought by the Spanish conquistadors, resulting into an art form called Naif. Peru's economy encourages young artists in the country.


✦ Peruvian literature has originated from the oral traditions of the pre-Columbian civilizations.

✦ Spaniards initiated writing in the 16th century.

✦ The 20th century was witness to writers like Ciro Alegria, Jose Maria Arguedas, and Cesar Vallejo.
✦ Mario Vargas Llosa, during the second half of the century, made the Peruvian literature popular. Today, many Peruvian writers are living in the USA.

Dance and Music

✦ Marinera is known as the National Dance of Peru. There are also other dances that are associated with the agricultural work, hunting, and war. Some dances show an influence of the Christians.
✦ Peru has some dances of war like the Chiriguano and also the Carnival dances.
✦ Dances of ritual character are the Achocallo, the Pinkillada, and the Llamerada. Llama is a South American camelid. Llamerada imitates its walk.
✦ The local community of Peru has preserved Peruvian music for thousands of years. It is a blend of Andean and Spanish styles of music.
✦ Ancient Peruvian instruments were made out of a variety of materials like conch shells, precious metals, horns, or mud.

✦ The yaravi and the triste of the Andean origin are generally songs with emotional lyrics.
✦ Wind instruments in Peru reflect the Andean influences. They include ocarina, waqra phuku, panpipes like siku and antara, and flutes like pinkillu, tarka, and quena.


✦ Peru celebrates about 3,000 festivals every year. Most of them are related to the Christian religion.

✦ Apart from Christmas, Corpus Christi or Holy Week, there are other festivals, which attempt to analogize indigenous beliefs with the Christians.

✦ Alasitaswhich combines a crafts and miniatures fair with dances and meals.


✦ A variety of foods are eaten in Peru, the main ingredients being maize, tomatoes, and potatoes.
✦ Fruits like chirimoya, lucuma, and pineapple are consumed by the Peruvians.

✦ One of the typical Peruvian dishes is ceviche, in which fish are marinated in citrus juice.

✦ The food of the Peruvians is accompanied by a refreshing drink called chicha de jora.

✦ The national drink of Peru is Pisco, a type of brandy.

✦ Lomo Saltado is a local staple. It is composed of sliced beef stir-fried with spices, tomatoes, and onions, and then mixed with potatoes, coriander, parsley, and white rice.

People of Peru

✦ In the words of Francis Arinze, an African prelate of the Roman Catholic Church, religion is one dimension of culture, a transcendent element of it. Peru's constitution provides freedom of religion to its people. Peru is mainly a Catholic country. Roman Catholicism plays a vital role in the culture and civilization of Peru. It is Peru's official religion.
✦ Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhism are the other religions in Peru.

✦ Over 50% of Peru's population lives on the coastal areas. Others live in the mountain areas. Less than 5% of the inhabitants live in the jungle areas of Peru.

✦ Around 45% of the people are indigenous, and around 37% are mestizo. The national language is Spanish. Quechua is also spoken.
✦ Cusco is seen as the cultural capital of Peru by many.

✦ On an average, 92% of the Peruvian men and about 79% women are literate.
The modern culture of Peru is a combination of the ancient and the contemporary. In spite of globalization, Peruvians have not forgotten their traditions. They cherish their cultural diversity.