On June 24th major cities of the Peruvian Jungle celebrate the festival of St. John the Baptist with great excitement and multiple cultural, artistic and gastronomic.
The feast begins on June 23rd as the eve of what will be the great celebration of the Day of San Juan”, people between men and women are directed to the rivers to purify themselves, because, according to the tradition, this day the waters of the rivers have been blessed by San Juan knowing this ritual with the name of “Baño Bendito”.
The central day (24th June) the celebration reaches its peak in the streets you can see hundreds of people celebrating masses, processions accompanied by typical bands and also this day takes place the “Humisha”, this tradition consists of a palm tree laden with gifts around which people dance with joy, very similar to the cortamonte or “Yunsa” in the andean carnivals.
The origin of this feast that currently has a incredible cultural richness, starts at the time of the colony with the first evangelizers who ventured to these territories hostile and little explored.
The evangelizers took their religion and evangelized to all the inhabitants and founded small towns which would be under the procteccion of St. John the Baptist, the Holy Spirit that was quickly accepted by the inhabitants because this was also linked to the water, since according to the Bible was San Juan who baptized Jesus in the Jordan River and to the ancient inhabitants of the Amazon water was one of the most important symbols they had. From here, a sincrestism in which they accepted to St. John the Baptist but through Him were able to keep alive their rituals toward the water.
During the festival visitors and local people can enjoy the gastronomy of Amazon rainforest that has a number of typical dishes and exotic drinks among which is the “Juane” that is made rice, eggs and chicken dams all wrapped up with annatto tree leaves, this dish according to the tradition represents the head of St. John who was beheaded at the time of his death.
This is why you can not miss this fun festival and program your journey to Madre de Dios and also takes the opportunity to visit The Manu National Park or the Tambopata Reserve which have a large amount of wild fauna and flora.