Postcard from... Trujillo


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The Independent Online

Holy Week, known as Semana Santa in Spain, is a serious business. While the faithful may flock to Rome to hear the missives of the Pontiff, in Spain it is procession time, with religious floats paraded through towns in respectful silence. Spaniards traditionally travel back to their villages for the holiday and take part in the parades. Special dress is worn and for weeks the highlights are advertised on posters in shop windows.

It is one of the country’s most important holidays, and aside from the heavily religious aspect of Semana Santa, it is one big party – with Spaniards young and old using the holiday to take a few days off work to head home.

In Trujillo, the birthplace of Francisco Pizarro, who founded modern Peru, the party is taken almost as seriously as the religious ceremonies. Hundreds packed into the town’s main square at the weekend; music blared out and thirsty partygoers thronged the bars.

A statue of Pizarro (who never made it back to the town – he was assassinated in Lima) looks down from his horse in the centre of the square. His followers brought many riches back to Trujillo from the New World. During Semana Santa, his descendants drink enough to sink the ships that brought them back.