Every 29 June is Saint Peter and Saint Paul Day in Peru. This is a Roman Catholic feast day that is much celebrated across the country. The date is based on the tradition that it was on this day in A.D. 67 that both Peter and Paul were executed by the Roman Emperor Nero, Peter by being crucified upside down and Paul by beheading with a sword.
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The Feast of Saint Peter and Saint Paul is a “solemnity” on the Catholic Calendar, but the faithful are not required to fast from meat on this day, even if it comes on a Friday.
While Saint Peter and Paul Day has likely been celebrated by Christians as early as the A.D. 300’s, it is certainly celebrated differently today in Peru than so long ago in the Roman Empire.
In Peru, there are special masses, processions, and other events held in honour of Peter and Paul all over the country every 29 June. Along the coast of Peru, Peter is given more attention than Paul since Peter is designated the patron saint of fisherman.
In the city of Callao, for example, the image of Peter is carried from the basilica, through the streets, to be loaded onto a boat off the local fishing dock. All along the way, praises are sung to the statute of Peter. Paul’s statute is also paraded through town, dressed up in a turquoise tunic.
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