By Mike Collis - Photos by Steve Orth
When you are in Peru you are sure to see some kind of a parade, a line of people marching down the street usually accompanied by a band of some sort.
The Peruvians don't really need a special reason to march, it can be the usual Sunday morning march, an anniversary of some kind or a protest about something. They will line up and march for anything, they just love parades. Visitors are always asking me, especially on Sunday mornings, "What is the parade about?" I explain that in every village, every town and every city in Peru there is a march on Sunday morning, usually starting at about 9.00 a.m. and usually in the main square.
Here in Iquitos, it is in the Plaza de Armas.
It's not only the military that come out on Sunday mornings to march, its government workers, teachers, nurses, school children, local businesses, all participate. All sections of the armed forces take part, the army, navy, air force, marines, national and local police, and they all sing their own anthem as they march by.
The weekly parade is never the same size every week, On the first Sunday of each month it is the biggest march and the parade gradually becomes smaller every week, until the last Sunday of the month, which is the smallest.
Here in Iquitos we are very close to the three borders with Colombia, Ecuador and Brazil so we have a large military contingent to defend the borders. So it is not surprising that military personnel make up the majority of the groups marching.
After a ceremony, when dignitaries are invited to raise the National Flag, the Loreto State Flag and the City of Iquitos Flag the parade will start. Usually the little children start first, followed by other civilian groups then the military follow on last. All this accompanied by a brass band.
It's worth noting that when Peru got its independence from Spain the Germans came to give military training to the new National Army of Peru, so it is not surprising that all of the marchers do the "Goose Step". The French government provided military music, so the music does have a French tone to it.
So if you happen to be in Iquitos on any Sunday morning pop along to the Plaza de Armas and watch the parade.
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