New Year’s Customs in Peru

We've officially begun the second decade of the new millenium, and we hope your new year is off to an auspicious start. In case you need some extra auspiciousness for future new years, here's a textile-related good luck tip from Betty Doerr, of Andean Textile Arts, who lived in Peru years ago. To Peruvians, new clothes symbolize a new beginning. For good luck in the new year, some people buy a doll, dress it in old clothes, and burn it to symbolize making a fresh start. Then some may buy new clothes, but many just buy three colors of new underwear: yellow for happiness, red for love, and green for money. On New Year's Eve, Cusqueño families will wear their lucky underwear (under their clothes) as they parade around the main square and party with friendsWhen not in Cusco, Betty's family runs around the block three times in their new underwear, and then they celebrate Peruvian-style by eating 12 grapes, one sweet bite for each month of the new year, as fast as they can, just as the clock strikes midnight.

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