USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘Symbolism’
Customs
Holidays
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Peruvian New Year’s Tradition

Main Piece: Peruvian New Year’s tradition

 

This was told to me by my friend Liv about a New Year’s tradition in Peru:

 

“In high school, my Spanish teacher was from Lima, Peru. She told us about celebrating New Years Eve in Peru and the many festivities that went on. First, people in Peru buy new clothing to wear on New Years Eve to represent a fresh start in a new year with new clothes. They frequently buy and wear yellow clothing, as yellow represents happiness and luck. Some people even go so far as to wear yellow underwear. Secondly, at the stroke of midnight, adults and children across Peru eat 12 grapes for good luck in the upcoming year- 12 grapes for 12 months.”

 

Background:

 

Liv is a freshman at USC, and this tradition was told to her by her high school Spanish teacher around New Years before they went on winter break. Liv likes this piece because it is a great tradition, and has much more of a meaning than how Americans usually celebrate New Year’s with parties and those types of festivities.

Liv told me she began to incorporate these traditions into her New Year’s celebration to give it a more symbolic meaning. She doubts many other people will do it, but it is something she enjoys doing.

 

Context:

 

This is a commonly practiced tradition in Peru, and occurs every year with most of the citizens participating. This tradition is only practiced on New Year’s and does not necessarily hold any other context.

 

My Thoughts:

 

I personally like this tradition, as it gives an added symbolic meaning to the New Year, not just people going out and not remembering the festivities and making resolutions that fall through within the next week.

I may start using this tradition at New Year’s, and could give me something to take the New Year seriously and use it as a time to get more done and more effectively.

Childhood
Folk medicine
Foodways

Chinese Custom: Wearing White

Last month when I was home for Spring Break, my mother once again berated me for wearing a cream colored hair bow. She says that in China, wearing white in your hair means that someone in your family has died and it is taboo to wear white in your hair when that is not true. In Chinese culture, the color white is the color of mourning and death. So, a lot of the times people wear white to the funeral.

This has always been interesting to me because in American culture, people wear all black to funerals and white is the color of pureness and innocence. Then, a woman wears white at her wedding to represent her final transference into womanhood. In Chinese culture, brides often wear red and gold because red is the color of happiness and gold represents wealthiness. I feel that color is always such an interesting kind of symbolism in today’s culture. In each society, certain colors mean different things and can transfer different messages. I know that roses are always a big deal because if a guy gives a girl yellow roses, he only wants friendship, they have to be deep red to be romantic.

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