Peruvians Celebrate 202 Years of Independence
Approximately 50 people gathered at City Hall to celebrate Peru's Independence Day (observed on July 28) with the raising of their flag, red and white with a shield in the center. Britannica explains, "The shield is divided into three parts with figures symbolic of national pride and wealth. The vicuña, a free-roaming camelid closely related to the llama and alpaca, is represented in the first quartering; in addition to representing the riches of Peruvian fauna, it stands for freedom, national pride, and heroism. The second quartering has a cinchona tree, the bark of which is used to make quinine. Finally, the bottom half of the shield displays a cornucopia from which spill gold and silver coins, symbolic of the nation’s mineral wealth. In addition, the white stripe of the flag is said to represent purity, and the red recalls the blood of patriots."
A speaker welcomed the crowd in both Spanish and English, acknowledging Clifton Mayor Ray Grabowski, City Councilman Tony Latona, and former Mayor James Anzaldi. "It is a pleasure to be with you today and thank you for sharing with the Peruvian community in this month of celebration of the 202nd anniversary of the independence of Peru. Peruvians are an important part of what makes Clifton such a diverse and welcoming city and they contribute with their hard work and commitment to the prosperity of Clifton."
She read a proclamation from New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy:
"Whereas on July 28, 2023, Peruvian Americans across New Jersey will celebrate the 202nd anniversary of independence of the Republic of Peru when General José de San Martin declared the country's independence and Simón Bolívar helped lay the groundwork for the new nation; and whereas Peruvian Americans in New Jersey enhance our state's cultural fabric through its rich traditions, vibrant dances, delectable cuisine, and enduring customs...do hereby proclaim July 2023 as Peruvian Independence Month in New Jersey in celebration of the numerous achievements of New Jersey's Peruvian community."
Mayor Ray Grabowski welcomed everyone and delivered some words in Spanish, adding that he hoped he got it right. Grabowski acknowledged the importance of different communities having the chance to celebrate and congratulated the Peruvian community on their 202nd year of independence.