Photo by Ben Ostrower 

All the Details about Peruvian Culture (told by a Local)

Peru: An inside view on its people

Maybe you associate Latin America with warm, colorful and rural celebrations, but we are more than that. Every country has its own particularities and here you will discover some about Peruvian way of life.

Proud with P of Peru

There are a couple of things that makes our peruvian chests swell with pride. Actually so much so that we have a type of music called “criolla”, where most of the lyrics talk about how much we love our country!

For sure, every Peruvian in the world has a huge feeling of patriotism in common at least for one of the next things:

Machu Picchu

Photo by Eduardo Flores

Machu Picchu: One of the 7 wonders of the world. It is one of my favorite places in the world, and every time a foreigner tells me the typical phrase: Oh you are from Peru! There is Machu Picchu! I get the opportunity to talk about our awesome wide biodiversity trying to convince him to explore my entire country (it’s totally worth it).

Peruvian soccer team 

Peru hasn’t participated in the world cup since 1986 and our team make us something that the government can’t: A UNITED COUNTRY. From the most devoted football supporter until the most serious office worker now are part of the football fever. You will see everybody running in search of a TV when our team has a game, ready to put in all his soul to celebrate a goal with the company of friends and family.

Pisco sour

This sacred drink is originally from Peru and most typical at the coast. Pisco is the pure alcohol we use to prepare it, and it is very tricky to foreign people (and some of Peruvians too) because it is very strong.

Ceviche

Photo by Pirata Studio Film

This is our most traditional dish. It is basically marinated raw fish or seafood and it’s part of the most fabulous triad of the world (for us): CEVICHE, BEER AND BEACH. For me, our gastronomy, is the best in the entire galaxy, and it is for most Peruvians. Our culinary art isn’t as spicy or flavored as others, so it is well tolerated and approved for foreigners. We use a lot of seasoning such as parsley, coriander, turmeric, yellow pepper and more, and we use chicken, beef, fish, duck, rabbit and some typical Andean animals such as cuy, alpaca and others.

I dare you! Mention any of this to a Peruvian (if he or she hasn’t talk about them yet) and you will see how their eyes shine with joy when they talk about their beautiful country.

And people do that? In public? Isn’t it forbidden?

The first thing I realized meeting people from other countries, was how CONSERVATIVE the Peruvian people can be (even though I didn’t consider myself conservative). Peru’s majority has an old-fashioned mentality, here the older you are, the more closed your mind is (in most cases). In the first instance meeting foreign people can be shocking, but we learn to tolerate, accustom ourselves and learn about different and modern cultures. In contrast to foreigners, we are a little shy and low profile at the beginning. We aren’t the types to approach anyone just to make friends, but with helping someone we are very gentle and warm people.

¡VIVA THE PARTY!

As I said, shy only in the beginning. Actually, we are very animated people, filled with the CELEBRATION SPIRIT. Peru has different festivities around the 25 cities, each one with its own saints, anniversary, memorial of historical heroes, or even its gastronomy and music. We have the day of pisco sour and the day of the “musica criolla” also, that is the same day of Halloween! (we celebrate both in fusion by the way). The further away and smaller the town, the bigger and more lively the party is. Crowds of people everywhere on streets sharing our typical dishes and of course lots of drinks.

Early to bed, early to rise

But we don’t celebrate every day! Peru is a third world country that for several years was satisfied with the little the state could give us. However, nowadays we have more empowered people fighting for a good quality of life, like first world countries. From capital cities to the utmost corner of the highlands you will see people of all ages WORKING HARD without stopping.

If there are limits to CREATIVITY no Peruvian has found them yet.

Photo by Willian Justen de Vasconcellos

A very well-known feature that marks Peruvian people is their creativity. This is very important in our lives in many situations including our economic improvement. This is not only for making innovative products and ingenious marketing strategies but also because so we can use our ability to create new opportunities in any situation.

When is lunch?

Basically our favorite question. With the amazing food we have it is obvious that we are accustomed to EATING A LOT during our three meals. Forget about wasting even a rice grain (we eat everything with rice by the way). That's why most of restaurants; Peruvian, International or fusion restaurants all have the all you can eat or buffet modality. As we are Peruvian food lovers we like to join any kind of foreign cuisine with our flavors and typical dishes, for example ceviche makis or hamburgers with Andean cheese or sausages, you must try your typical food mixed with mine!

A penny saved is a penny earned

We are great SAVERS, maybe it is because the shortcomings of the past that generation on generation our parents, grandparents and everyone has taught us unconsciously to save a little in everything as possible such as money, food or time. We don’t like to waste anything!

These are some of the characteristics that Peruvians have in common, but if you come to Peru, you will discover that each of our regions has their own culture as well!

Written by Camila from Peru