Northern Peru is blessed with eternal spring—in fact, the nickname of Trujillo is the City of Eternal Spring. Thus, every September, when the winter season finally comes to an end in the southern hemisphere, Trujillo’s Spring Festival is a celebration of this fresh beginning to a new chapter of our year. The annual parade is now a 70-year tradition that remains one of the city’s most anticipated.
The event was originally organized by the city’s Club de Leones, or Lion’s Club, as a means to raise funds and carry out philanthropic activities. Nonetheless, today the festivity brings together thousands of people, both local and international, to enjoy a celebration that has come to represent the city.
Trujillo, the third major city in Peru, established its importance before Inca times when the territory was controlled by seminal Mochica and Chimu cultures. Villa de Trujillo was founded by Francisco Pizarro on March 5, 1535. Today, Trujillo offers a wealth of history, interesting architecture, and unique customs. Citizens of this unique city are very open to sharing their cultural heritage with any visitor who is willing to listen.
On August 21, 1950, the festival incorporated its first parade (inspired by the United States’ Thanksgiving Day Parade) which wound its way through Trujillo’s streets. Since then, local businesses have gotten very competitive. Everybody wants the claim to fame as having the best float, and the competition is one of the most highly anticipated aspects of the event.
In 1960, the parade finally got international recognition, thanks to the participation of foreign beauty queens who came to stand alongside the local Queen of the festival. These visiting beauty queens spend their time shuttling between events, touring the city’s sites, and participating in charity work.
Here’s what other entertainment you can catch during the parade:
Besides the decorated floats and the gorgeous beauty queens, there are also talented baton twirlers who perform at the event. These women come each year from the United States to delight the audience with their choreography and acrobatic movements.
Another traditional activity that comes into the spotlight during the festival is that of the Peruvian Paso horse. Hundreds of people gather to watch these graceful creatures glide across fields, showing off their unique gait.
The International Spring Festival also offers people a chance to connect with the local culture. During the festival, you’ll find events such as conferences, meetings with authors, painting and signing competitions, art exhibitions, film festivals, and fashion shows.
The festival would not be what it is without celebrating the area’s most representative dance. Couples come together in an elegant, flirtatious choreography with notably agile footwork. By using handkerchiefs and hats, they mark their moves. This captivating dance, inspired by Peru’s navy, has been an essential part of Trujillian identity for several centuries.
During the festival, some of the country’s best dancers travel to Trujillo in order to compete for the title as the best dancers of the marinera—and plenty of curious travelers arrive to behold one of the most captivating live dance performances in Peru.
This article has been updated since its original publication on September 17, 2018.
Cover image: Wikimedia/JuanCarlos.Marketing
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