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Viva el Perú!

Cleveland celebrated Perú’s independence day through the annual Fiestas Patrias Peruanas

By Ingrid Marie Rivera, La Prensa Correspondent 

CLEVELAND: With the singing of Perú’s national anthem and a ceremony honoring its flag, roughly 250 people celebrated the anniversary of Perú’s Independence, at the West Park Knights of Columbus Party Hall, July 25, 2009.

Ohio State University graduates, Renato Manay, Paola Seguil and Renzo Manay pose in front of Peru's flag.

Perú gained its independence from Spain on July 28, 1821.

Today the Fiestas Patrias Peruanas help bring Peruvians in the United States closer to their heritage.

“We take advantage of this opportunity to display our culture, our Peruvian food,” said Isabel Galvez, organizer for the event and public relations person for El Señor de los Milagros Ministry in Cleveland. “Our Peruvian food has become ‘super famosa’ across the world,” she said.

The South American country’s food, dance and clothing varies greatly between the three regions of the Perú: la costa, la sierra y la selva or the western coastal plains, the center Andes region and the eastern lowland jungle of the Amazon basin.

The guests on Saturday were treated to traditional Peruvian dishes of all three regions, Galvez said.

The menu included: tamales, pollos frito con arroz, CauCau con arroz (a stew of cow tripes and potatoes), Carapulcra con arroz (pork and potato stew), flan y más.

Pisco Sour, Peruvian cocktail was prepared throughout the night non-stop by Mr. & Mrs. Carlos Salinas.  The drink is made out of Peru’s emblematic liquor called Pisco.  Similar to a brandy, Pisco is a clear distillate of the grape, which—combined with limes, sugar, ice, and egg whites—make a wonderful drink called Pisco Sour.

After five women carrying the Peruvian flag circled the dance floor, the audience rose to its feet and sang the Peruvian national anthem “Somos libres, seámoslo siempre,” and proclaimed “Viva el Perú.” Three young 2009 graduates of Ohio State University followed the patriotic ceremony with a Marinera dance, a coastal dance of Perú. Often called the “National Dance of Perú,” Marinera is a romantic couple’s dance that often includes handkerchiefs as props.

These five women held the Peruvian flag while the guests sang the Peruvian national anthem.

Renato Manay boldly waved his hat and Paola Seguil extended her white dress as they danced. Renzo Manay replaced his brother and also danced with Seguil.

The Manay brothers said they have been dancing for 11 years and danced for Ohio State’s group Folclor Hispano. Seguil danced for the same group but for one year.

“I mostly love the dancing (of my Peruvian heritage),” Renato Manay said “We’re from California and there’s more Peruvians there than here. I joined the (Folclor Hispano) in Columbus (Ohio) to meet more Peruvians,” he said.

It was the first time all three attended Las Fiestas Patrias Peruanas; that has been organized at the same Cleveland location for 5 years.

Musical guests included the folkloric band Inti Raymi and dance group Raices del Perú.

Octubre Morado

Admission to the event was $10 and proceeds went to the Señor de los Milagros Pastoral Ministry of Cleveland’s St. Michael the Archangel Church, located at 3114 Scranton Road. Proceeds will fund this group’s Señor de los Milagros Solemn Mass and holy procession. Funds will also help the group to support the Parish’s pastoral work and reach out to people in need. 

It is Perú’s holy day, and most popular, and largest Catholic procession honoring the “Christ of the Miracles.”

Every October, groups of Peruvian-Americans all across the U.S. walk, dressed in purple robes and carry “El Señor de los Milagros” painting to remember the survival of the image of Jesus that underwent natural disasters, and to reaffirm their belief in its miraculous powers. The procession will take off from the St. Michael’s parish on October 4, 2009, circle a couple blocks and return to the parish, after a special extended Mass, Galvez said.

Paola Seguil and Renzo Manay dance the Marinera, a Peruvian folkloric dance.

International Guests share Peruvian Pride

Several guests repeated that Saturday’s Independence Day anniversary places Peruvians more in contact with the traditions of their country.

But Galvez said the guests attending varied in their backgrounds, from México, Venezuela, Chile, Spain, and Russia.

Jeff Carbajal, 27, proudly displayed his heritage as he wore a white and red shirt that stated the word Perú. Carbajal said although he was born and raised in Cleveland he was able to visit his homeland three times.

“I love the countryside over there, where my mother is from,” Carbajal said.

Sitting with Carbajal was Pheaktra Chamroeun who quickly said he was not Peruvian, although he too wore the same white and red shirt that honored Perú.

Chamroeun, 24, of Cambodian descent, sat with his wife Vanessa Carbajal, of Peruvian descent, and their 2-year-old daughter Priscilla.

“I like the family, the bonding,” Chamroeum said of Peruvians “We get to see each other a lot,” he said.

He added he was invited by his mother-in-law who was a chef at the party.

Eusebio Rodríguez, of Peruvian descent, also a member of El Señor de los Milagros Ministry, was escorting guests into the building. He said the event was to celebrate Perú’s independence but also to prepare for the October Catholic procession of Cleveland’s St. Michael Parish.

Rodríguez said he is most proud of “la musica, la comida y su religion,” of his Peruvian heritage.

The guests dance. In the center are Pheaktra Chamroeun and his 2-year-old daughter Priscilla.

“Esto es una opportunidad para saboriar platos typicos de Perú que son bien variados como el ceviche, (fish), y cabritos (goat).” he said.

Espiridion Quiñones, of Puerto Rican descent, also a member of El Señor de los Milagros ministry, was invited by the organization. He volunteered by welcoming the guests and provided the directions to the parking lot. “Today I have become a Peruvian,” he said.





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