A few days before New Year’s Eve, most of the people of Cusco are eager to start the year in the ‘best way, with a good footing, with good fortune, and leave behind all the bad things. In the city of Cusco we have a variety of omens of good luck to help us receive the new year well.
“The way you receive the new year is how you will live throughout the year”
Although it seems surprising, Cusqueños are very superstitious. We inherited many customs and superstitions from our grandparents, our own Andean culture, and others that come from Western culture.
Most people practice these auguries with the purpose of receiving the new year in the best way and start the year off with good fortune.
The color yellow is one of the primary colors and one of the most important. It is a symbol of luck and prosperity, as many people describe it. Just as the sun is radiant and full of energy.
“The yellow color means a lot of energy that people hope to obtain”
There are other things in yellow too. Flowers are very important, as is optimism. There are also many items of yellow clothing that people will wear on this night, such as underwear, dresses, hats, glasses and much, much more.
To ward off bad luck and bring good luck, people perform flowering baths (baños florecientes), baths for them to bloom in the New Year. These are cabalas (rituals) practiced throughout Peru.
“If you think positively, you can chase away bad luck and bring good luck to you in the new year”
You need candles, flowers, water, incense and some stones, all sold in our markets and fairs. There you can find everything you need to perform this spiritual ritual for the New Year.
One of the cabalas of the new year is to eat twelve juicy grapes when midnight arrives. You make a wish for each grape that you put in your mouth. In this way, you will say goodbye to the previous year and get excited about the new.
When midnight arrives, everyone sits down and counts their twelve grapes. Once the time comes, everyone talks about their year that has already passed and thinks about what they would like to have for next year.
“Once everyone has eaten their grapes, they share a hug with the members of their family with the joy of starting a new year”
The most important meal in the New Year is suckling pig, young roast pork. On the 31st, from early in the morning pork cuts, marinated and prepared, appear in each of the ovens in the city, as family after family brings their pig to bake in a communal oven.
Why the pig? We can notice that the meat does not come from any pig, but from a young pig, something like the new year, also young.
“The richness of the meat comes under a tasty and crunchy skin that can also have some meaning to move to the new year and the hope of good fortune”
One of the most popular customs, but a low attack, is the burning of dolls around midnight.
“They do this also to open space for the hope that they will return and for there to be new goals and new dreams as they take the year to a conclusion. No matter how good or bad was the previous year, they clarify it to give them hope for a better new year ”
The doll is dressed well so that it looks impeccable for the New Year’s party. They take it to the street so that it enters the spirit of the celebration. It is lit in a fire and burned. Families gather around to enjoy the warmth in the cold nights of Cuzco as they await the New Year.
You can buy small things, a whole series of items, like cars, suitcases, money or whatever you want so that in the new year they become reality.
Incense in different aromas, bills (imitation, of course) to bring you fortune, counting money is one of the cabalas of greatest fortune, most prefer to count in dollars.