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Like the Fourth in December

Day 521 – December 24, 2012

“Like Christmas in July” is a phrase common in the United States.

Down here in Peru, that phrase can be turned on its head because for the past few weeks it has felt like “The Fourth in December”…as in the Fourth of July.

Here is what has been transpiring over the past twenty-four days…

…there have been newspaper articles documenting police raids on companies selling illegal fireworks;
…there have been other stories in newspapers telling their readers which are the safest fireworks to buy; and
…vendors on the street have been selling all manner of pyrotechnics – from individual things that go boom to shrink-wrapped packages that contain about twenty explosives;

All of this firework-related news and commerce is due a Peruvian tradition that begins tonight.

The carol “Silent Night” has no meaning in Peru because when midnight strikes tonight and Christmas Eve moves into Christmas Day, citizens all over the country light off their trove of fireworks.

We were in Cusco last year when the rockets went off. I am curious to see what time I will be able to finally drift off to sleep here in the larger city of Lima with all the bombs bursting in air.

Finally, and tho’ it’s been said many times, many ways….

Feliz Navidad and to all a good (and quiet) night.


Day 511 – December 14, 2012

I know Peru is a majority Roman Catholic country. This is not a surprise to me.

Given that The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2012 says that eighty-one percent of population follows that faith (page 823) and twenty-two percent of people in the United States are Roman Catholic (as of 2010 / page 607 and 699); and

Given that in Peru workers receive the day off and students miss school due to holidays such as Santa Rosa de Lima Day (August 30), All Saints Day (November 1), and Immaculate Conception (December 8) and workers and students do not receive those days off in the United States; and

Given that many parks in the area have statues devoted to saints and even for a Pope and (as far as I could ascertain) few parks in the United States have similar shrines; and

Given that in December in Peru many public spaces contain Nativity scenes (such as this one in Parque Kennedy)

Nativity scene in Lima's Parque Kennedy

Nativity scene

…and messages of “Merry Christmas” (or “Feliz Navidad” considering the local language) without raising an eyebrow…

Christmas display in Peru

Christmas wish with a kiss

…while in the United States such displays are parties to judicial decisions or rallies;

With all those givens, I was fully acclimated to the fact that Peru was a Roman Catholic country.

Because of that acclimation, I was completely taken by surprise by a satirical drawing I saw in the editorial cartoon section, known as El Otorongo, of the Peruvian newspaper Peru 21. I had thought that as a Roman Catholic country, all aspects of that faith would be treated with respect.

I was wrong.

Editorial cartoon from Peruvian newspaper


Pope Benedict XVI:
Yes, Pepito [a common name for a young boy], Jesus walked on water.
Yes, Pepito, Jesus multiplied the loaves.
Yes, Pepito, Jesus resurrected the dead.

Pepito (via computer):
And is it true that the world will end on December 21?

Not so, Pepito. How can you believe such nonsense?

As dissimilar as our two countries may be concerning the display of the Nativity in public spaces, it was interesting to see that our two nations share a tradition of poking people in power.

Too Much Blue Hue

Day 454 – October 18, 2012

I wrote earlier about how shocked (shocked, I tell ya’) I was that our local grocery store had already put out Christmas decorations a full two months before the actual event.

Well, I was bit more shocked a few days earlier when I saw an advertisement in a Peruvian newspaper that featured an image of jolly ol’ St. Nick himself selling cars.

Car advertisement in Peru

Notice something odd about this version of Santa Claus?

I’m not sure if something went askew during the printing process or if this is the hue for Father Christmas down here south of the Equator, but I had never seen Santa Claus decked out in purple before.

Now I’m curious to see what the color of Rudolph’s nose would be.

Photo Friday: Summer Colors

Day 150 – December 19, 2011

From Photo Friday, the theme this week for their weekly photo submission event is “summer colors“.

Normally, living as I once did in the United States, summer means the months of June, July, and August. However, residing here in the Southern Hemisphere now means that summer (or verano for those of you with a handle of the Spanish language) encompasses the months of December, January, and February.

This also means that Christmas falls during the summer, which means that for this theme from Photo Friday, I can offer up this colorful Nativity Scene seen in the Inka Market.

Nativity Scene in Lima, Peru

Nativity Scene with local color

Close up of Nativity Scene in Lima, Peru

Mary and Joseph sporting local Peruvian fashion

Just in case you’re wondering, like I was, where the baby is in this scene, I was told by locals who know these things that owners of Nativity scenes do not place the baby Jesus in its cradle until the 24th of December.

Happy Holidays

Stepping out of the timeline I have been using as the concept of this blog to wish one and all a wonderful and happy holiday season from the Sin Polaris family.

Happy Hannukah, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year from our Lima home to all of yours.

An extremely popular food item here in the City of Kings is the panetone. For a much better write-up on this cake-y delight and how popular it is, you can click on over to here.

As for me, my wish for you all to have a delightful, healthy, and prosperous 2012 is as big as this panetone…

Caja covered by panetone facade

No nuts inside

Feliz Navidad y Prospero Ano Neuvo !