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Customs for Ringing in the New Year

Now that the fiestas for Christmas have gone we begin to live the celebration in which we say goodbye to the old year. A new year arrives on the heels of our enjoying Christmas with its gifts for children, its Christmas dinner, and the fireworks at midnight. Today, everyone puts that behind and prepares to say goodbye to the old year in the best way they can.

Cusco’s families will celebrate tonight as they should. Some will prepare a delicious soup that they will serve very hot after they have exploded fireworks.

Yellow Flower for New Year Eve
Yellow Flower for New Year Eve

In addition, in Cuzco’s main square there will be an amazing party. Many people will decide to spend New Year’s Eve there. They will enjoy the firework show and at midnight people will grab hands and run around the square.

One of the most important things people will do to receive well the New Year is the cábalas, as we call them. These are like auguries that people put together with the idea and hope of obtaining a good new year and that all will go well for them. Among others, people will burn their old clothes and will buy new clothes. Others will walk around their house with their suitcases in hand so that in the upcoming year they will be able to travel all over. There are more.

Kabalas for Good Luck
Cabalas for Good Luck

One of the cabalas that is now a tradition and which almost everyone does is to wear yellow. This color stands for good luck, health, money, and love. That is why when midnight arrives everyone changes their underwear to yellow ones.

Finally, people will scatter yellow mistura, confetti, in every corner of their homes. People will also put on large, yellow, plastic glasses with the number of the New Year and will put large necklaces around their neck in the same bright color . They call these necklaces hawaiianos (or jawallanos as we hear it). Finally, people will put yellow confetti on the heads of the members of their family and loved ones while saying “happy New Year.”


PS.  Today Cuzco’s EMUFEC, the entity responsible for public festivities, announced there will be no formal celebration in the Main Square, the Plaza de Armas.  They ask people to find other places to ring in the New Year.

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