Cuban culture celebrates the end of the year and welcomes the new with a big ultra loud party full of friends, visiting family, vintage Cuban music intermixed with modern vibes, a gluttonous amount of classic Cuban food, and dancing. It’s pretty epic. It’s always fun, but we don’t always realize how exhausting it all was until we all muster getting up at the crack of dawn on January 1st, eager to start on the right path.
As much as I cook and commit my life to the culinary history and culture of most of Latin America, I’m sadly not 100% familiar with how each country celebrates their new beginnings. I do know for certain most of us default to serving 12 uvas to eat at the strike of midnight, each representing the 12 months of the year. And then we walk around the neighborhood with pots and pans, banging them loudly as a way to noise out the mess from the year. It’s so much fun. My favorite is to walk around the block with a suitcase, magically inviting a good year for travel. My passport was stamped over 10 times this year and that excites me to see what 2014 has in store. I’m already booking flights and accepting gigs! More sights, more food, more traditions to become familiar with.
But, in my exploration with Sargento Cheese of Peru and all their rich history in food and ingredients which have made their way to American tables, I thought it’d be appropriate to get to know how they celebrate the New Year. I reached out to my sweet NY-based Peruvian friends who blog about Peruvian food! Duh! What a light bulb moment. Morena of the Peru Delights shed some light on how her people celebrate new beginnings.
It’s currently summer in Peru and they relish in sunny days at the beach! Unlike us here in the States, where most of us are cuddled by the fireplace, sipping on hot chocolate, families there are vacationing on the beach, soaking up the sun. While digging toes into warm sand, parties are underway, filled with lots of food and drink, and literally dancing until dawn. Can you imagine?! An all night beach party?! While I prefer a chilly night bundled up in my mother’s hand knit scarves, a night lit by a wood stick fire, enjoying the ebb and flow created by the moon sounds inviting. So sexy.
If not at the beach, families gather at home, much like we do for Nochebuena — a big feast of traditional foods — lending itself to a tiring morning after hours of festiando.
Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.