Halloween in Peru: a blend of Peruvian festivities with an American holiday
31 October 2019
Peruvians enjoy occasions for celebration all year-round, and Halloween is no exception. Although Halloween is relatively new in Peruvian culture, the quintessential American holiday has been adopted with great enthusiasm in many parts of Peru, especially in cities such as Lima and Cusco. And it is growing in popularity!
You can easily see why- it’s the costumes, it’s the parties, it’s all the fun! Kids everywhere love Halloween’s wild, scary, crazy costumes, and that includes many older “kids”. And dressing up in extravagant costumes is a widespread and prevalent custom at many Peruvian festivities.
For example, the festival of the Virgin of Paucartambo in July near Cusco , and February’s Virgin of Candelaria Festival in Puno feature huge parades of participants in wildly creative costumes that rival anything you might see at Halloween- terrifying demons, magical wizards and other fanciful creatures of all kinds. Thus, it seems quite natural for Peruvians to find another great excuse to dress up in fantastic costumes to celebrate.
Halloween, also called “el Día de las Brujas” or Witches’ Day in Peru, is a working half-day, and you can be sure that after work thousands of Peruvian parents rush home to dress up their little ones as ghosts, vampires, fairy princesses or their favorite superheroes.
Then, off everyone goes to various parties, or to show off their creativity on the main streets and at the malls. Trick or treat does happen, but only in some neighborhoods, and not as much as in the U.S. But carved (or plastic) Halloween pumpkins, vampires and skeletons are seen everywhere, and everyone shares lots of candy!
Halloween and peruvian music
It’s not just for kids. Many young people also costume up and head out to Halloween parties, dance clubs and the main squares to take part in all-night revelry, often involving substantial imbibing of spirits. Halloween in Peru probably began some 20 or 30 years ago with private costume parties of university students and young people, and the celebration gradually spread to families.
The day of the deceased
On the more traditional side, on the Day of the Deceased many people in Peru go to the cemeteries to visit and lay flowers at the graves of their deceased relatives. Another enduring Andean tradition on All Souls’ Day is the baking and sharing of Tanta Wawa, or “baby bread”, loaves of colorfully decorated sweet bread with dolls’ faces. It seems everybody in Cusco both receives and gives a beautiful Tanta Wawa!
Come to Peru to share in our festivities! You can make next year’s Halloween a really fun, unforgettable experience while visiting Cusco.
Or visit us at any time of year to enjoy Peru’s many celebrations and rich cultural traditions, and combine the experience with an awesome trek to Mt. Ausangate, Cusco’s sacred snowcapped mountain. Contact us at andeanlodges.com to find out more. And have a Happy Halloween!