Fiesta of San Juan de Dios

San Juan de Dios, Fiesta of

March 7-8
San Juan de Dios (St. John of God) was born in Portugal in 1495. He was a soldier for Spain for some years, but after his troop was disbanded in 1536, he took up a life as a shepherd. John underwent a period of emotional and spiritual difficulty when he was around 40. With the assistance of a priest, he found some stability and decided to devote his life to God, eventually establishing a house in Granada for the sick and the poor. John fell ill after rescuing a man who was in danger of drowning in a flood, and he died in 1550 when he was 55. A religious order, the Brothers Hospitallers, was founded in his honor, and thereafter he was known as John of God and the patron saint of hospitals.
In Puno, Peru, San Juan de Dios is celebrated with a two-day fiesta. On March 7, llamas bring in dry wood for bonfires in a parade with flute and drum music, and in the evening bonfires blaze. The next day, St. John of God's feast day, a procession takes the saint's image through the streets of Puno, and dancers and musicians create a festive atmosphere around the church.
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. 56
OxDictSaints-1987, p. 234
SaintsFestCh-1904, p. 127