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If You Doubt Peru's National Confidence, Just Check Out Its Cherished Military Parade

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Parade celebrating the 194th anniversary of Peru's Proclamation of Independence. July 29, 2015. Image: Galería del Ministerio de Defensa del Perú / Flickr / CC 2.0.

Unlike many countries, Peru enjoys its national holidays for two consecutive days: July 28 and 29. The festivities kick off on the 28, when the country celebrates Liberator General Don Jose de San Martín declaring Peru's independence from Spain in 1821. On this day, Peruvian officials traditionally attend Mass and singing Te Deum, with the president and other important figures of authority all in attendance. The president also addresses the nation from Congress, and receives the best wishes of diplomats and state authorities in the government palace.

This year's celebrations also included a transfer-of-power, as President Ollanta Humala left Peru's presidency to its new leader, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who took the oath of allegiance along with his new cabinet.

Despite the fun and excitement of July 28, it's actually the next day that many Peruvians await most eagerly. On this day, the Great Military Parade of Peru takes place showcasing members of the armed forces and national police. Over the years, the parade has taken place in many different settings, however, it now takes place in centric Brasil Avenue, with some spectators arriving before sunrise to ensure they get seats. On the other hand, some prefer to watch from the comfort of their homes, instead of fighting their way through the crowds—a task made easier thanks to the event being broadcast live on almost all public TV channels.

Preparations for the military parade typically start a week before the event. This year, installation and setup started on July 18 with the cordoning off of roads and the installation of traffic-detour plans.

Despite the parade's huge popularity, however, not everyone agrees with its relevance and some even question its existence entirely.

Te Deum and Military Parade. Are there no better ways to celebrate independence in democracy? I think yes!

I don't understand the need or reason for a Military Parade: proudly exhibiting guns when our country faces so much insecurity.

But, generally speaking, Peruvians do celebrate the parade. And those who attend in person get there hours early:

Photos: People still getting themselves to la Av. Brasil to witness the great Military Parade.

This is the atmosphere now in la avenida Brasil one hour until the start of the Military Parade.

Great Military Parade: The ‘preview’ to the parade in photos https://t.co/mbyaArXzLKpic.twitter.com/MvGEXB4yrB

Vendors also make the most of the occasion by offering their products to the large crowds.

Share your curiosities of the Military Parade with the hashtag #MiDesfilePatrio [My Patriotic Parade]

The Peruvian president, in his capacity of head of the armed forces, presides over the parade, which begins with canonfire, firecrackers, and a big band.

PPK [Pedro Pablo Kuczynski] grants permission and officially initiates the Military Parade.

#Perú: 21 Canons to signal the start of the Military Parade during the national holidays pic.twitter.com/z7Yxu7kIZm

The music band @naval_peru make their way to the Military Parade @larepublica_pepic.twitter.com/e3siCsaSlX

This year, representations from foreign countries were the first to march.

Members of the Bolivian, Argentinian and Colombian Armed Forces participate in the Militray Parade #ElPeruImporta [Peru Matters] pic.twitter.com/Wh2eafuldD

Peruvian representatives of United Nations Peacekeeping were also present.

1998 Noble Prize winning Peacekeepers on the march at the Military Parade (Photo@aaronormeno) pic.twitter.com/kOn60vxTZb

Organizations such as the Fire Brigade, made up solely of volunteers, also paraded.

Military Parade with the Fire Brigade. Their presence alone was enough to incite applause and more.

But the bulk of the parade consisted of the various factions of Peru's Armed Forces.

Military Parade. Mariscal Domingo Nieto's Cavalry Regiment is playing “Cinammon flower.”

Parading the current commander of the Special Armed Forces in the VRAEM.

@PoliciaPeru one of the best of the day in the Military Parade. Some of the skills here of the cadets!

“I'll go to the sky and fly🎵……”For the fatherland! #LosSinchis of @EjercitoPeru [Peruvian Army] in the Military Parade.

Army tanks making moves in Military Parade for the Homeland's Party. pic.twitter.com/TABwoTtjnn

To add a historical touch to the day's proceedings, a tank of Czech origin that participated in the Peru-Ecuador War in 1941 was present. Technicians specially refurbished the tank so it would be in good working condition for the parade.

#VIDEO: Army tanks parade before the official Military Parade.

One of the most highly anticipated parts of the event, and not only for children, is the march of the police dogs.

The canine brigade of the @PoliciaPeru [Peruvian Police] make their move in the Military Parade.

The canine brigade is the main event for many in the great Military Parade.

Even the Peruvian dog with a wooly hat is participating in the Military Parade.

Congressman General Donayre, a retired soldier, has become a regular presence in television reports on the parade in recent years. Donayre has many critics, however, thanks to his tendency to make politically incorrect remarks on air.

Peruvian Party: There's no Military Parade without comments from General Donayre.

General Donayre trolling the whole transmission of Maritere and Lorena Álvarez. 😂

Two members of Peru's Armed Forced helped mark the end of this year's parade with a dance performance.

And that's how they closed the Military Parade. Long live Peru! 🇵🇪pic.twitter.com/5KEFczcAQe

Thousands of limeños (the inhabitants of Peru's capital city, Lima) then continued the parade after it officially ended, meeting at Brasil Avenue for the unofficial celebrations, while soldiers returned to their barracks.

Delegates are received with appaluse at the end of the parade in the Plaza Bolognesi.

Plaza Bolognesi completely jam-packed.

This year's celebrations seemed to many to be particularly joyful, and some credit newly appointed President Kuczynski with the good vibes and new sense of national optimism. But Peru's new president faces an adversarial congress that promises to make political compromise, let alone political progress, far more complicated than before.

This article is a version of an original text published on Juan Arellano's Globalizado blog. 

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