This year was my second Christmas in Peru. Like in the US and Europe Christmas here in Peru is a time for family and celebrating the birth of Christ Jesus. Of course Christmas in Peru also means food, gifts, fireworks and watching “Home Alone” 1, 2 and 3 for the 23rd time.
One interesting aspect of celebrating Christmas in Peru is how the traditional Andean religion and culture has blended with Christianity. For example, church altars are often adorned in gold (a throwback to the Inca’s time) and a very typical Peruvian “baby Jesus” figure is used in nativity scenes.
Peruvians celebrate Christmas eve (“la Noche Buena”) with a dinner, followed by an exchange of gifts and fireworks at midnight. The traditional Christmas meal is turkey, and in the weeks leading up to Christmas the typical treat is hot chocolate with a sweet bread called “Panettone”.
I’ve noticed a lot of “Santa” images and figures, but Peruvian Santas don’t seem to follow the US tradition of putting gifts under the tree at night – gifts are simply exchanged between family and friends on Christmas eve. Unlike in the US, Christmas shopping in Peru is typically done only in the last week or even last few days before Christmas.
Overall we had a great Christmas, wishing everyone all the best.