In Peru, New Year's Eve is not only about the party, it's about making sure you start 2013 with the right food to eat. Don't be surprised if after midnight you start seeing people running around the block with a suitcase - they aren't lost - it's one of our several New Year's rituals. Apparently, if you go round the block, you'll be blessed with travelling somewhere fun in the new year. A little tip though: its easier if the suitcase is empty.
Then, there is the food. Here is the shopping list that you'll need:
• 12 grapes (6 red and 6 white)
• Cinnamon sticks
• Yellow underwear
And keep the change... you'll need that too!
Here is the how and the why of it all:
Whatever the dress code, wear yellow underwear to attract good energy. Here is the tricky part: some say that you should wear it inside out until midnight and then change it. Now for the shoes, put a coin inside one of them to ensure you are blessed with wealth.
New Year's Eve decoration in Peru is all about the colour yellow. In Lima you'll find specific stalls in the market where you can find everything you need. Mainly, yes, in yellow. But when setting up the party mood in your house, don't forget the limes. It is said that if you put half a lime in each corner of your house it will draw the bad energy away from you.
In Peru, more important than the midnight's New Year Eve kiss, is when the clock hits 12 - that's when we all hide under the table. You need to have six red grapes and six white ones with you. Every grape eaten will grant you a wish. Make a list - you only have 12!
If you are thinking that the lentils, cinnamon and wheat are for preparing a traditional New Year's Eve dish, you couldn't be more wrong. Hopefully people will come and fill your pockets with them. Lentils represent money, wheat is for prosperity and cinnamon is for love. Remember to take them out of your pockets the next day, as you need to keep them safe all year around.
Another gift you'll appreciate for the New Year is a doll. Not any doll though. It's a special Andean doll that we call the Ekeko, the god of abundance, fertility and joy. This little guy carries under his arms loads of things; it can be money, food or even something representing a car. The one common thing you'll see in all Ekekos is that they always have their mouth open; tradition says that you need to offer him a cigarette.
So we don't have resolutions for the New Year but since we need to compromise with the rituals here is my resolution: to bring Peruvian flavours into your life. If you can't think of any, let me help you. Here is a video of one of our favourite masterclasses. And if you like, make your resolution to learn how to prepare Don Ceviche.
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