What religions are practiced in Peru?

Religion in Peru

    Religion is an essential component of Peruvian culture. 80% of the population declare themselves to be Catholic. The Catholic Church has an important political power: Constitution states that State gives its “collaboration”. It profits a tax exemption, priests are payed largely by the State, about half of educative centers are managed by priests or nuns, etc. Virgo or Christ pictures are presents in every school, every intendance, every hospital… If freedom of religion is officially known, a Peruvian without religion use to be poorly looked by society.

    However, in a lot of regions of Peru, this Catholicism is highly marked by beliefs and Heathen practices, pre-Hispanic: syncretism is an essential characteristic in the Andean religion. So, ceremonies and offerings to Pachamama, Mother Earth, are still presents and a lot of parades dedicated to Saints are often diversion of Andean ceremony that existed before the arrival of Spanish and priests. In the campaigns, they still adore Apus, protective spirit of mountains, Inti, Incan sun god, Killa, the moon, by establishing links between the world below, the middle world (ours) and the world above.

    A recent dynamic we can see developing, particularly in cities, but also every day more in campaigns, is the apparition and explosion of protestant, evangelist movements, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormon, and Adventists, which build temples on every corner. They are often present in poor districts where people lose any cultural mark with the rural exodus. It is not unusual to see crowds coming to bend a knee, cry or scream during the entire night.

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