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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year: Peruvian style!

Peru: Holidays: New Year's Eve

¡Feliz Año Nuevo!

Would you believe me if I told you that the 201_ just accidentally got cut 
out of the picture?!  hahah, jk.

Happy New Year!  Here we are another year come, another one gone. Well, I hope that you all had a delightful, restful holiday. I'm telling you, we had enough excitement to share! This year, as I mentioned on my other blog, we celebrated the passing of the old year outside with our neighbors. It was interesting as well as educational, so here we have a little lesson in Peruvian culture!  Enjoy!

On New Year's Eve, I'm pretty sure that everyone and their brother head out to the streets. At 8pm, the streets were quite FULL of people doing last minute shopping, or perhaps more likely, just out to be out.  There were tons of vendors in the street with (illegal) fireworks, and more vendors selling ready made muñecos... I'll explain those in a minute :)  But by ten o'clock the majority of people were on their way home, or rushing to wherever they were going to spend the rest of the night (too many young people pass the night drinking and dancing in the New Year at the discotecas/night clubs). The aforementioned stores stay open until midnight (can you imagine, ringing in the New Year at your local 7-eleven for example? weird.) However,we didn't have any shopping to do at that hour, so we headed home from our weekly date night to spend the late (or early) hours - Micah at church and me with our two big boys. Unfortunately, Micah had been feeling pretty bad all day, so he skipped church and went to bed.  I woke him up for the excitement 2 hours later... Oh, come on!  How could I let him miss all the fun?!  Obviously!

Midnight is when all the real fun begins. The muñeco is lit, the kids light their hands on fire set off fireworks and all the neighbors young and old, come out to hug and kiss each other welcoming the new year, wishing each other prosperity and good fortune in the coming year. But that's definitely not the end!  The women have worked for hours cleaning out the house for muñeco stuffing (explained below), preparing the meal that is then eaten (turkey, chicken, 12 grapes - or raisins in the case of our neighbors, and other grains. Paneton and hot chocolate are dessert.), the young people start up their LOUD music and dancing (our neighbors were still going on strong at 4am! We were able to witness this from our bed since the music was loud enough it vibrated our bedroom wall). And the kids keep on lighting fireworks until they run out of money, or can beg no more (remember the stores are still open in case they run out!).

As you'll notice in the pictures, there were several neighbors wearing the traditional yellow, in particular underwear worn inside out (we did NOT see anybody's underwear for goodness sakes!), this is all for good luck.  And, they'll throw rice under the door frame if they're hoping for a wedding in the coming year. 

At half past midnight, WE went in and watched a movie!  (This was the first time we shared this part of the American holiday tradition of staying up late with any of our kids... such FUN!  Plus, it would have been difficult to attempt sleep with all the fireworks and music stilling thumping and popping outside)

Thus ends our Peruvian nochevieja/año nuevo experience.  I hope you all enjoy!  It really merits video for all the sights and sounds combined for quite a stimulating experience... but video doesn't come out well in the dark!

Important traditions / vocabulary & definitions
[Tradiciones importantes y vocabulario]:
Nochevieja [no-chay-bee-AY-hah]: New Year's Eve

Año Nuevo [AN-yo noo-AY-bo]: New Year's

media noche [MAY-dee-ah NO-chay]: midnight

muñeco, pilato [moon-YAY-co, pee-LAH-to]: The doll is life-size, made of old clothes and shoes stuffed with rags and other refuse (found and collected during that day's cleaning).  It is lit on fire at midnight, illustrative of getting rid of the old to usher in the new.  Not a bad symbol in my opinion!

fuegos artificiales [uh... when are you actually EVER going to say this...?!], cohetes [co-AY-tays], chispitas mariposas [...or this?!]: Fireworks, fireworks, sparklers

12 uvas, pasas [DO-say OO-bahs, PAH-sahs]: 12 grapes, raisins - Pop one in your mouth for each of the twelve strikings of the clock ringing in the New Year - will definitely bring to fruition all the aspirations and dreams in the New Year!  How easy is that?!
huevos duros: boiled eggs, if you put it under the bed, sleep on it, some prediction is made from the shape of the yolk... seriously, I'm not joking.

espigas de trigo [es-PEE-gahs day TREE-go]: grains of uncooked wheat - Chewed and believed to bring abundance in the New Year.

Paneton [pan-ay-TONE]: Like a blown out fruitcake!  Okay, not really, but it is sweet bread embedded with dried fruits.  It is more like bread though than fruit cake. We actually all like it now, and would even eat it not at Christmas time (with butter, it's AWESOME), but it was a little hard to get used to.

Chocolate [cho-co-LAH-tay]: hot choclate made with evaporated milk, baker's chocolate, cinnamon and cloves.  Different, but good. Recipe below:

Chocolate Peruano - by Amy Tuttle
Enjoy at Christmas time and on New Years Eve with your paneton!

100g baker's chocolate
3 can evaporated milk
2.5 liters of boiling agua

2 sticks of cinnamon
1 TB whole cloves
sugar to taste (a LOT :)

Melt the chocolate the boiling water. Add cinnamon and cloves. Boil for 10 min. Mix in milk and sugar to taste. Strain out the cinnamon and cloves before serving! Accompany with paneton to celebrate truly Peruvian style!
**Tuttle tips: Stir with a candy cane! Lather your toasted paneton with butter! Delicious!

Here's a Peruvian website (in Spanish) that I used as a reference for the significance of the grain and rice.


Courtney said...

Just the mention of chocolate, and I'm there! Thanks for swinging by and introducing yourself. Looking forward to knowing you in 2010.

Feliz ano nuevo (I don't know how to make the accents on my keyboard.)!


MarshaMarshaMarsha said...

Awesome! I'm so glad you shared the pics, vocab and recipe!

The muneco pilato thingy was kinda creepy though. Good idea but weird to see this life-size doll on FIRE! yikes.

amy in peru said...

Marsha, You are right... I'd forgotten, I'm so used to it now, but I used to think it was horror movie-ish too! weird how one forgets.

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