Beautiful and Bizarre NYE Traditions of Peru

This was my second time ringing in the New Year in Peru and I am still learning all of the interesting and bizarre traditions to bring everything from luck, to money, to a wedding in the year to come. After hearing and investigating a million and one NYE beliefs I’ve decided on a few of my favorites to share with you all!Peace Corps Peru Volunteer New Years Eve
First of all, what to wear?! Yellow of course. Party members are greeted with yellow leis, glasses, and headwear. The color is thought to bring good energy going into a new year.
Don’t forget the yellow underwear! Yes that’s right, leading up to NYE the streets are lined with vendors selling yellow panties. The tradition is that they should be worn inside out until midnight when they are flipped to the right side.

yellow underwear on NYE in Peru New Years
Most of Peru starts NYE with a giant family dinner. There is usually turkey, pork, or chicken accompanied by empanadas, tequeños, rice, and other sides. If the family goes all out there will be all three animals served!

New Years Eve Dinner in Peru of Tequeños and empanadas
In the minutes leading up to midnight grapes are passed around to all guests. Six green and six purple grapes are consumed one after the other as a wish is made before eating each one.

At midnight there is a toast and everyone goes around the room hugging each other. It is also customary that you individually bless and say good wishes to each person as you hug.

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One of the most interesting Peruvian traditions is the burning of life size dolls. Yes that’s right, each year the family collects old clothing and creates a life size dolls by stuffing them with paper or cardboard. The dolls are then covered in fireworks and lite on fire until they burn out. The idea is to get rid of all the negative energy and bad luck and start over with a new hope. “Out with the old, in with the new!”

burning New Years doll in Peru tradition
This one is for all the pushy mothers out there, to bring a wedding to the family in the upcoming year throw rice in the air while standing in the doorway of the house!

Looking to travel more in the New Year? Grab an empty suitcase and walk around the block a few times as the clock strikes 12:01. Peace Corps host family Peru toasting New Year 2016

Other popular traditions include:

Exchanging an item of clothing between couples to strengthen the relationship.

Ring in the New Year with money in your hand or in your shoes to bring economic success in the upcoming year.

Lighting a candle right in the home right before midnight to bring peace and harmony. Be sure to let it burn all the way out or it won’t work!

After the appropriate traditions are completed and the family dinner is over, loud music can be heard throughout the entire country and the fun begins. Parents usually hang out in the house dancing the night away, while the younger crowd heads to electronic concerts on the beach, house parties, or discotecas.

The fiesta continues until well after the sun comes up. The next day is spent sleeping followed by lots of leftovers! Or in my case relaxing on the beach before heading back to rainy season in the Sierra.panoramic Pimentel beach Chiclayo, Peru
Then the yellow decorations are put away until the next year when it’s time to do it all over again.

Do you celebrate any beautiful or bizarre NYE traditions in your host country? Comment below, I would love to hear from you!