Even though Christmas is over people continue to prepare for festivities. Cuzco’s streets dress up in bright yellow as a symbol of good luck. Fairs with necessary artifacts take over the city’s streets and Cuzco’s stores fill with all one needs to ring in the new year well.
In Cuzco we call it “receiving the New Year” as if it were a guest who arrived and we greeted it well, just like we did the Christ Child a week ago when we welcomed Christmas. With out superstitions, beliefs, and customs we take this moment of reception very seriously.
As a result we place a lot of attention on color and clothes. To receive the New Year one should wear new clothes and you should wear yellow. That bright color of sunlight is a symbol of good luck and of a good augury for the New Year.
It is like the sun. Many days it is covered in clouds but it is there, shining with yellow intensity. With yellow it is like we call it down and reflect its glory back in our desire for good things like money, health, and just general good fortune.
Since yellow represent the sun’s energy, we hope that by wearing it we carry good energy and hope. It is a way of making a desired change in life so that we begin refreshed with new energy like that of the son in the sky that has just reached its zenith and can share with us.
Women come from the countryside to see the traditional golden flowers. We buy them to bring good fortune and to help people grow as well as to help our businesses grow. Every year many merchants come to Cuzco to sell us all the details we need to welcome both Christmas and the New Year.
While there are many things that people buy for this celebration, one major detail is yellow underwear. You want to have this energetic color close to your most intimate parts and at the foundation of your being, under your clothes, when the New Year comes at midnight when the 31st changes to the 1st.
Women look for al kinds of lingerie that are bright yellow for this night. Men seek out yellow boxers and briefs. Both can find many different possibilities in our stores and fairs since merchants have brought a whole variety of offerings from far and near just for this feast.
They are a sign of good luck and yu want to attract good luck to you for the New year. We also find lots of mystical emblems to bring good fortune and make for a good future.
Of course there are always the hats, ties, eyeglasses, and cords with 2013 on them.
But, being Cuzco, there is also lots of yellow confetti. We put confetti on people when they are undergoing a rite of passage and at New Years trowing yellow confetti on each other is a way of moving from one year to the next as if it wee a ritual and of giving good fortune to each other. We also share this good fortune with our houses and businesses by sprinkling yellow confetti on them as well.
Another important idea for the New Year is a whole range of amulets and talismans which, instead of protecting people from harm, bring good fortune to them. These include all kinds of grains and seeds in small packages. The packages include grains of corn, lentils, and lima beans.
Since these seeds come from plants that grow upwards they bring that hope to people that they and their lives will grow upwards toward the sun. This promise of straight and solid growth is something we desire. Besides growth they are also symbols that can represent money and general good fortune.
People buy these packages and then place them in the boxes where they keep their money.
You can also find small packages of coffee beans, sugar, and cinnamon. You put these items in your wallet or purse.
As another means of obtaining good fortune, people will buy spikes of wheat decorated with dollar bills and bills of soles, the Peruvian currency.
At midnight on the 31st a cheer will go up as it becomes the first and people will hug one another. But they will also be ready to greet the New Year well by showing the signs, the hopes, of what they wish for that New Year and the relationship they are building with it.