According to legend, a tribesman once heard the call of a bird while hunting and went to search for it deep in the jungle without much luck. Then the bird's singing turned to a voice which called out the name of the tribesman who then saw the figure of the Saint among the trees. Saint John spoke to him and claimed that he was named by God as the Patron Saint of the Amazon. Ever since, every 24th of July all the Amazon celebrates the birth of Saint John by taking purifying baths in the rivers and lakes of the region as the locals believe that the waters are blessed and will bring them happiness and health throughout the year ahead.
And because any celebration wouldn't be complete without food, the Festivity of San Juan is well known for the 'Juane' which is prepared in every kitchen around the Amazon. The 'Juane' is a type of rice tamale made with 'mishkina' (regional seasoning), wrapped in 'bijao' leaves and typically served with fried plantains. We went in search of a traditional 'Juane' to the El Aguajal Restaurant in Lima and were delighted with other jungle specialties such as the 'Tacacho with Cecina' (derived from 'taka chu' in quechua that means beaten; smashed plantains with salted dried pork meat) and the 'Chaufa with Cecina' (chinese style fried rice with salted dried pork meat and plantains).