New Year`s a la Arequipeña

Cheers to the bounty of 2012!! Feliz año nuevo!

Wearing our yellow Peruvian hats for New Year`s eve

Celebrating New Year´s in a foreign country is always exciting. New foods, friends, and cultural nuances flood the scene and captivate all the spectators. This year we spent New Year´s eve in Arequipa , Peru, the second largest city in Peru .

Traditions created around New Year´s are always fascinating. In the U.S. we are sparse on traditions compared to other countries. Of course, kissing someone at midnight, perhaps the colors blue and silver are the thematic colors, and sharing your New Year´s resolution. These are very tame compared to the Peruvian customs.

There are three traditions that we experienced and adopted during our stay in Arequipa. The first is the importance of wearing the right color underwear when ringing in the New Year. Yellow for prosperity, green for wealth, and red for love. All the street markets were flooded with different styles and the respective colored panties.

Lots of underwear for sale in the street markets of Arequipa

The second tradition involves Incan folklore , lots of incense. Not the typical Nag Champa that everyone associates with incense. But traditional cauldrons where herbs, cedar, and other plants are burned to rid oneself and the area of bad spirits . Starting off the new year spiritually safe and sound.

Traditional incense, Incan style

Candles are the third ritual, lots of different colors representing certain qualities that you would want in the New Year. Once burned at 12 , each color will perform it{s respective character. Yellow for prosperity, blue for health, red for love, purple for self-confidence, etc. Two of us ladies in our group burned blue and yellow ones, where as the single ladies burned beautiful red candles with gold accents.

Assortment of homemade candles, need luck in the year to come? burn a candle

Much like our tradition involving plenty of champagne to ring in the New Year, in Peru , Demi-Sec champagne made Ica, Peru, very sweet almost to sweet for these American Chicas. There were also tables full of Muscato, Vino de Higo (fig wine), and other red Peruvian varietals made in a sweet manner.

If planning to travel in the New Year one must circle their neighborhood carrying two suitcases in order to give good luck for your trip and put the energy out there that you have good luck when traveling in the New Year.

Happy 2012 to everyone and may it be prosperous to all!!

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