Fiestas Patrias

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28th July is Peru’s national day, this year celebrating 201 years of independence from Spain. To see some more of Peru’s national symbols go to

In celebration the children made a presentation of a traditional dance routine in the school and also in the refuge, while the staff organised a traditional pachamanca as a celebration in the refuge.

Pachamanca derives from the Quechua words pacha = ‘earth’ and manka = ‘pot’, and is a traditional Peruvian way of cooking with the aid of hot stones. Preparation begins with the heating of stones over a fire, usually buried in a hole in the ground. The fire is then covered with grass and earth, and the resulting oven is opened up after around two hours. This method of cooking originated in the central Peruvian Andes. It is an important part of traditional Peruvian cooking, has existed since the times of the Inca empire, and is now widespread throughout modern Peru. The earthen oven can generally cook meat such as lamb, alpaca, pork, chicken or guinea pig, marinated in spices, along with other Andean produce such as potato, sweet potato, or yucca. Meat is wrapped in leaves before being put in this kind of earthen stove.