1 January 2013 Happy New Year, Peruvian style

This year we decided to celebrate New Years in traditional Peruvian style.  There are many traditions that vary depending upon the region you are in.  The ones we adopted are mostly from the north, as most of our Peruvian friends who attend our parties are from the north.

Karin and Carlos were visiting from Lima.  Mili and her sister, Nebiluz, were also staying her, but chose to celebrate in Los Organos with friends.  Local friends included Lucia and Ferruco, Oscar (the chief of the highway police in Los Organos) and his wife, Ricardo and his girlfriend and children, Juana and Sanchez and many of the Bocanegra family.  We missed Sara and Edhie, our friends from Talara, and Gaby and Julio from Mancora.  They were obligated to work and couldn´t come.  Jim and Dani, our Canadian friends from the Yukon, had company from Dawson and chose to spend a quiet evening watching the fireworks from their balcony.

Karin and Carlos with Stormy
Karin and Carlos with Stormy
Mili and Nubeluz
Mili and Nubeluz
Lucia and Ferruco
Lucia and Ferruco
Juana and Sanchez
Juana and Sanchez


Oscar and his wife
Oscar and his wife

0-1One New Year´s tradition was the creation of a muñeca, or doll, made from  old clothes and traditionally stuffed with straw.  We didn’t have the straw, but used sawdust and newspaper which worked equally well.  Paper maché heads were available in the market of S/.5 or about $2.  The vender showed me several heads and told me who they represented;  the major of Piura, the major of Lima, the president of Peru…… The tradition is to name the muñeca after an unpopular political or public figure, or after someone who has wronged you in the past year.

We chose to name ours Ana….after a local woman who took advantage of our friendship by borrowing (and never repaying) money, calling upon us for all kinds of help that became requests for hand-outs.  She has alienated many people in the same manner; which saddens me.  I was a bit leery of naming the dummy Ana, thinking this was unkind, but her name immediately came to both our minds.  Hopefully the tradition stands true and the bad karma between us is now gone and we can start fresh.

So, Ana sat on our terrace at the table for the last couple of days of 2012.  It was funny to watch people’s reaction to her.  Juana was the first to see her in the morning as she came to work.  Usually, she starts her work on the terrace, but didn’t this morning.  She later told us that it startled her, but later commented she thought it was great.  Other people would come into the house and glance outside thinking it was someone sitting outside.  Then were startled to realize it was a muñeca!  And, I have to say, I would hesitate in my steps when crossing the terrace….knowing Ana was there, but still caught by her presence.

Traditionally, the muñeca is burned at midnight, represented the elimination of the evil or badness.  This then allows for a new start in the new year.

Doug lighting the muñeca on fire on the beach at midnight.
Doug lighting the muñeca on fire on the beach at midnight.



Another tradition is eating 13 grapes in the last minute of of 2012.  Each grape represents one month of the year and each month is named before eating each grape.  The thirteenth grape is eaten for good luck.  Slipping up or dropping a grape may bring bad luck.


Peruvians will also put some lentils in their pockets.  This is to ensure money in their pockets in the coming year.

One last tradition we observed is wearing yellow underwear.  The color yellow signifies good luck!

We should be covered as far as having good luck in the coming year!!  I hope that same good luck extends to all of you!


1 Comment

  1. Thank you for the info. It is really interesting what some of the New Year celbrations are. I had a few friends over New Year’s Day for dinner and visit. It was a good time. I had the Bowling Christmas the Saturday between Christmas and New Years. Most of the family were here. Lance was in Washington, had Courtney there, with all that has gone there, he needed some time with her. We missed him, but I did understand the need for time with her. Glad to hear from you. Do wish you a great New Year. Love, Joan


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