By Camille Carrillo, NGO Services Intern
During the holidays, I am mostly surrounded by my family – and that says a lot because my family is pretty large. My house gets pretty hectic during the holidays. Either my Abuelita or my mom is in the kitchen, my aunt and two little sisters are in the living room laughing or watching a movie (usually “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas,”) and my dad is playing his bass in the corner as background music. Oh! And can’t forget my dog, Elly, as she is in and out, walking between our feet in the kitchen, smelling the delicious food that my mom is cooking for our christmas meal, hoping and praying a piece of ham falls down into her mouth.
Some of our traditions are based in Peruvian culture and I have been doing them since I was little. To provide a bit of background: my mother emigrated from Lima, Peru to the United States in the 1990s. I am so grateful she did because this allowed me to get a bachelor’s degree from a 4-year university in the United States. I am the first person in my family to do so. Around the holidays, I am grateful for a lot of things, and the Peruvian cultural traditions makes me conscious of that. Some of those traditions are:
- Carrying a suitcase around your neighborhood block in hopes that you will travel more in the upcoming new year.
- Eating 12 grapes underneath a table. For each grape, we say something positive for the new year – something that you would like to change, something you want to strive for. It could even be something you are grateful for, that has happened in the past year.
- The color yellow is all over the place during this time. In my experience, Lima comes alive and is completely saturated with the color. Yellow flowers, yellow hats, cups, plates, glasses, even new yellow underwear to ring in the new year. The community of Lima rallies around a color and it’s great to see them so happy for what’s to come.
I have spent the holidays in Peru many times and it is always so nice to be around my own family but also to be around a local and international community that embodies the spirit of gratitude during the holidays.