Sunday, January 4, 2015

One the Eve of New Year's Eve in Lima

There are pretty much only two days when Lima --yes, pretty much  the entire city-- comes almost to a standstill: Christmas Day and New Year's Day. I mean, not even on Sundays does the place get as quiet and still as it does on those two days.

In between them, however, are a few days of frenzied activity for vendors who have a short window of time in which to get sell their New Year's themed merchandise in preparation for the big night.

 There are a number of traditions associated with New Year's Eve.  For example, some people eat twelve grapes or olives at the stroke of midnight.   Others walk around the block with an empty suitcase in hopes of traveling in the coming year.  Others, taking note that the word for a square block - manzana- is the same as that for apple, take things a bit tongue-in-cheek and stay indoors and just walk their suitcase around an apple.

Yellow, or more accurately, gold, is the color associated with New Year's Eve.  That means that, overnight after Christmas the street stalls and small shops, put away the multicolored swag and lights of Christmas, and everything turns yellow: yellow streamers, yellow table cloths and napkins, flowers, decorations, etc.

One of the things that most stands out is the astonishing amount of yellow underwear that appears as if by magic, as it is fortuitous to greet the New Year wearing new yellow underwear that has been received as a gift.

Where have all those yellow undies been during the rest of the year?  I don't know, but given the sheer amount of it, it seems impossible that it could all be sold in the course of the one week between the two holidays.

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