Easter in Peru is totally different to Australia. The celebrations officially start a week before the 'Western' Easter, in the form of Semana Santa (Holy Week). Thursday and Friday are public holidays, and overall there is less commercial emphasis put on the holiday. There's definitely none of the BUY BUY BUY and CHOCOLATE EVERYWHERE that there is in Australia. Celebrations are a lot more religious (I assume due to the highly Catholic population) and there's no chocolate whatsoever. It's more a time to spend with your family and friends- many families head down to the south of the Lima province and camp on the beach. And when I say many, I mean about 2 million - no joke!
Probably the most interesting day of the Easter weekend for me was the Thursday before Good Friday. I went into central Lima with my dad and German uncle to have a look around, and there were people everywhere. Everyone had these little elaborately woven plam fronds and were flocking into one of the many, richly-decorated churches there. It was almost fanatic- crossing themselves, touching their hand or palm frond up against statues of Jesus carrying the cross to his death. The queues to get into the churches were ridiculously long too, and all day, not just for the masses.
It was really quite an experience- almost like a trip back in time to see what Easter must have been like 100 years ago. None of the commercialism, just the root of what the holiday is actually about. While I did miss my overdose of chocolate, the Peruvians have no shortage of other delicious Easter treats- sweet bread in the form of ducks, chewy long sticks of toffee, round bread and hard donuts covered in icing sugar. Though, if anyone feels kind enough to send me a Lindt bunny or a Cadbury egg, I'd be quite happy to receive one!
And last but not least, I did finally get to sit on a llama!