Like many Latin American nations, Peru’s predominant religion is Roman Catholicism, which remains a powerful influence in both state affairs and daily activities. Church activities and personnel are centered in Lima, with its most important and impressive cathedral in the Plaza de Armas along with the National Palace and Lima’s Municipal Office. The institutional role of the church has slowly declined over the years but the ceremonial aspects of the Catholic religion, its moral convictions and cultural values remain deeply embedded in Peruvian culture.

We were up in good time on Easter morning and grabbed a cab to take us into the center of Lima to do a little sight-seeing and possibly catch a church service. Our timing was perfect and we arrived in the Plaza in time to witness the gathering of the faithful to celebrate the Risen Christ. All of the streets around the Plaza were decorated with incredibly beautiful murals made of flower petals.

We followed the sounds of music to a side street in time to witness the arrival of two  processionals coming from opposite directions, to converge at the 16th century Cathedral in the heart of old Lima Centro. Each group carried four figures of about ten feet in height, balanced on a platform on the shoulders of 14 to 16 men.  They were each accompanied by a marching band, incense burners and columns of worships and came to a halt every few minutes to allow the men to rest.

It was a spectacular sight to see and a joy to watch a community celebrate their faith with such fervency and adoration. We spent a happy morning around the plaza, sipping on cocao and chocolate tea and marveling in the architectural beauty of Lima.