Flag Day in Peru
In Peru, June 7th is a very special day. It’s a way to not only honor the Peruvian flag but also honor the brave defenders of this country. In this country, the day is known as Dia de la Bandera, which translates in English as “Day of the Flag.“
This holiday can be traced back to the 19th century when the Peruvian resisted a Chilean invasion at Morro de Arica. Although this day is important in Peru, it’s not a public holiday in that country.
That means that schools, businesses, and government offices will remain open on this day unless it falls on a weekend, and most people will still have to go to work.
The History Of Flag Day In Peru
Before we can discuss the history of the Day of the Flag in Peru, we should probably take a few moments first to give a short history of the country’s flag. The first Peruvian flag was created in 1820 after Jose de San Martin arrived with his Army of the Andes.
He designed a flag that was red and white, colors that he chose because he saw a flock of flamingos taking wing. This flag would be used until independence partisans created their own flag on March 15th, 1822.
The design that is now used in Peru was first created on February 25th, 1825. It features red-white-red vertical stripes (a design taken from the previous flag), with a coat-of-arms at the center.
As far as the history Flag Day represents in Peru, we have to travel back to the 19th century to the War of the Pacific between Peruvian forces. During this war, the Chileans captured the southern Peru city of Tacna and then set their sights on the port of Arica.
Peruvian forces had just lost Bolivia as an ally, and 1,600 Peruvian forces at Arica faced a superior Chilean force of over 5,500 soldiers. Aware of the odds, the Chileans sent a message to the Peruvian commander Colonel Francisco Bolognesi and asked him to surrender. The colonel responded by saying that his forces would fight until the last cartridge had been fired.
On June 7, 1880, Chilean forces marched toward Arica and pierced Peruvian defenses. Chilean forces defeated the Peruvian forces and took the city. Colonel Bolognesi and about 1,000 Peruvian defenders were killed in defense of the town.
Although Arica was never retaken and remains a possession of Chile, the heroism of the Peruvian officers who faced certain death to defend the city was forever preserved with the passage of Dia de la Bandera, or Day of the Flag.
Observing Flag Day In Peru
In Peru, this day isn’t a public holiday, but it is a day for all citizens to take pride in their country. As a result, flags are raised on this day and special ceremonies are held that remember the defenders of Arica and the ultimate sacrifice they made.