Peruvianness, Peruvian National Holiday and the Bicentenary: What does “Being Peruvian” mean today?
By: Diana Sofía Peralta Arrasco, María de Fátima Estrada Ramos y Dabilui Antonio Isasi Cabrera
“Estoy enamorada de mi país” by the Singer Eva Ayllon, “Contigo Peru'' by Arturo “Zambo” Cavero and Oscar Aviles, are just some of the songs that talks about the feeling of being Peruvian and about the love for our country. But, is that feeling truly the same in all Peruvians? Are we all identified in the same way? What does the term “Peruvianness” mean? In this article we aim to invite for reflection and analysis about what “Peruvianness” is, the celebration in July and the identity feeling that we have as a country.
Even though the term “Peruvianness” has been used for more than half of a century, it was just recognized by the RAE (Royal Spanish Academy) in 2014. This term was coined by the Peruvian writer Victor Andres Belaunde, who described it as “the feeling of identity that binds communities and inhabitants of Peru together, based on the love they have towards their traditions and the faith to their destiny”. Considering the above description, we can talk about what happened on July 28, 1821, when Jose de San Martin declared Peru’s independence, linked us as a nation and gave us the freedom we were pursuing for so long, trusting that with our actions we could build a better destiny.
Thus, on July 28, 2021, we celebrated 200th anniversary of our independence and the Peruvian Government implemented the Bicentennial Special Project by the Ministry of Culture, not just with the purpose of celebrating our 200th anniversary, but with the purpose of going through the path of opportunity, with an “strategic plan of actions and communication that responds to these urgent historical needs”. 20 000 volunteers were called to be part of this plan, which has the objective of building a better country, based on the following main ideas: Integrity, fight against corruption, equality of opportunities, dialogue and reconciliation, sustainability, integration and competitiveness, and identity and diversity.
However, to commit ourselves as a country, we also need to know how we perceive ourselves in the last few years. In order to answer this question, the Bicentennial Special Project of the Presidency of the Ministry Council (PCM) delegated IPSOS to perform a national survey within the Bicentennial context. The objectives were to evaluate what values identify Peruvian people and their perceptions towards certain attitudes in the country. This survey revealed that 1 out of 3 interviewees consider that Peruvians do not practice any value. The study concluded that being honest and solving problems without violence are the main actions/values that should be practiced urgently (IPSOS 2019).
In the same way, another survey carried out in 2019 by the Institute of Peruvian Studies regarding the factors that bind us together and divide us as a country, showed that one third of the surveyed people (1230) consider that Peru is a mixture of different cultures and groups. However, despite the fact that 41% agree that diversity means considering Peru as a country full of treasures, 40% consider diversity as a difficulty. Also, division is considered as a threat for the coexistence within the country, especially in the medium socioeconomic levels (NSE C) and with less resources (NSE D and E), where an important percentage (22% and 21% respectively) perceives a divided country with irreconcilable differences. In that sense, a large part of the population (64% of the interviewees) perceives the Bicentenary as a celebration that should be considered mainly for reflection.
Previously, in 2011 an IPSOS’ survey revealed that 96% of Peruvian interviewees feel proud of being Peruvian, and also recognize as main factors of pride the gastronomic diversity and Machu Picchu. From 1200 people surveyed, the study showed that the feelings perceived when Peru is named are as follows: pride (55%), hope and optimism (49%), love (35%). In a minor percentage but important as well, the survey revealed the feeling of shame and embarrassment (10%). Besides this numbers, the survey also asked for the reasons why a sector of the population considers that they feel embarrassed of being Peruvians; in this aspect, the main reasons identified were: delinquency, corruption and injustice, also other reasons such as poverty (20%), discrimination (18%), inequality (17%) and educational level (14%).
All together, these surveys show us a hopeful overview but that also requires analysis and action. In the surveys’ results we can see that the perception of pride is the main promoter of our “Peruvianness”; but, at the same time, factors such as inequality, division and lack of democratic values generate an environment of disconformity within the context. Peru is recognized as a country full of treasures, with the opportunity to build a tolerant society. However, to achieve this, it requires acknowledging what are the tasks pending regarding the justice administration and creation of a peace and union environment, where the characters are diverse but together must reflect deep actions that built a democratic coexistence within the country. Among these actions we can mention: gender approach in a social, political and economic environment, labor conditions, environmental values that require urgent actions, cooperation to create a nation and peace, strengthening of our democratic structures, etc.
Finally, we consider that part or recognize ourselves as Peruvians means participate by improving as a democratic society. In that sense, considering the surveys, we acknowledge that the pending tasks of the Bicentenary are still the valorization of cultural diversity and practicing values such as justice, tolerance and honesty. Therefore, it is the duty of all of us to practice our quality of “Peruvianness” at home, at work, at school, with our neighbors, friends and fellows. In the same way, we must be part of what we want to build and take action as Peruvians. This July 28, share what makes you feel proud of being Peruvian and what is your commitment in our patriotic celebration.
Diario Gestión (2022, April 13) Peruanidad del Bicentenario, una visión del Perú real.
Andina (2011, July 31) El 96% de peruanos se siente orgulloso de su peruanidad, según encuesta de Ipsos Apoyo
IEP (2019, July) IEP Informe Especial – Julio 2019 Peruanidad y el Bicentenario
El Comercio (2020, July 28) Palabras en red: ¿Qué sabemos sobre la peruanidad?
Bicentenario del Perú. Una oportunidad histórica.