The New Year is a huge celebration all around the world, and Peru is no different!
New Year’s is often largely associated with drinking and having lots of fun with your friends, however, there are a number of rich customs associated with New Years in Peru that are intended to bring good luck.
In Peru, people are generally more connected with the spiritual, the mystic, and the superstitious than people are in the west… and they do believe in miracles!
New Years in Cusco
Cusqueño families have a wide range of customs to celebrate New Years in Peru, and each family has its own tradition. Many families celebrate the New Year together by having lunch and then the young people will go out with their friends.
There isn’t a specific food associated with New Year’s but turkey, chicken, and guinea pig are common, as are drinks such as hot chocolate, pisco sour, and beer.
Many bars and clubs organize special New Year’s Eve parties, but the place to be is in Cusco’s Plaza de Armas. At about 11:30 pm, locals begin to gather in order to run around the Plaza as the clock strikes 12!
> Want to go? Ask us about our Christmas in Peru Packages. We also have specially designed New Years in Peru Packages.
New Years in Peru
Customs associated with New Years in Peru are intended to bring good luck. Here are a few of the popular traditions:
- Dress up a doll or effigy with old clothes and then burn it. This signifies getting rid of the old and making a new start.
- New clothes are also a popular representation of the new, and markets catering to this idea spring up in the streets of Cusco in the days before New Years in Peru. If you haven’t got new clothes, underwear is a very popular alternative. The color of your underwear is also important, with the most popular being yellow (for happiness and luck) followed by red (for love) or green (for money).
- Other people light colored candles in their houses. The meaning of the candle colors is the same as for the underwear, with white bringing good health.
- If you want to travel in the upcoming year, you should take a suitcase or backpack and carry it around the block or the Plaza de Armas on New Year’s Eve!
Around New Years in Peru
- Eating of grapes as the clock strikes 12 is also a popular way of bringing luck, one grape for each of the 12 upcoming months.
- People also participate in a tradition known as the baño de flores, or a bath of flowers. Depending on what they are wishing for, they fill a basin with water and flowers of a certain color (roses for love, for example) and will bathe using this combination of water and flowers. At midnight, they put beans into their pockets, and whilst doing so, they wish for money.
- A classic custom is to place three potatoes under your chair or sofa: one peeled, one partially peeled and one unpeeled. At 12 o’clock you need to choose, without looking, one of these potatoes and it will forecast what type of financial year you will have. The potato with no skin means no money, partially skinned means a regular year, and a potato with a full skin means lots of money!
- In a similar vein, if you throw 10 cents over your shoulder it represents throwing out the poverty of the previous year, and therefore bringing auspiciousness. Other people distribute rice around the house, which is intended to bring money and luck.