Fiesta of San Isidro in Peru

San Isidro in Peru, Fiesta of

First two weeks in May
St. Isidore is the patron saint of agriculture, and in the agricultural community of Moche, Peru, the celebration of his festival (May 15) lasts throughout the first two weeks in May. Every night during this period the image of San Isidro, garbed in simple clothes and a hat woven from straw, spends the night at a different farm. The image is placed on an outdoor altar decorated with whatever fruits and vegetables that particular farm produces, and there is considerable competition among the farmers to exceed each other in setting up these altars. After the saint leaves, the altar is taken down and the fruit is distributed among neighbors and guests. A band escorts the saint to the home of his next host.
The saint is returned to the church in Moche on the afternoon of May 14. The straw hat is removed and a silver one put in its place, along with a velvet cape embroidered with gold, in preparation for the procession on May 15. On the nights of May 14 and 15, devil dancers wearing horned masks roam the countryside, taking from small farms whatever they can lay their hands on. Because they are known as the "devils of San Isidro," their deeds go unpunished.
CONTACTS:
Commission for the Promotion of Peru
Calle Uno Oeste No. 50, piso 13th
Urb. Corpac
Lima, 27 Peru
51-1-4224-3131; fax: 51-1-224-7134
www.promperu.gob.pe
SOURCES:
FiestaTime-1965, p. 93