Author Archives: Nicole Winston

Festival – Peru

“La gente para divertirse jugaba con agua con los vecinos en la calle y se mojaban completamente. Primero comenzaban a tirar globos con agua y terminaban con valdes de agua. Algunas veces la gente que caminaba tambien recibia agua. Todo quedaba muy mojado como si hubiera llovido mucho.”

“People, to amuse themselves, played with water with the neighbors in the street. They got completely wet. First they began to throw water balloons, but when they ran out they would go finished with buckets of water, maybe even the hose. Some times the people who were just walked received water balloons. There was no consideration for anyone if they’re around. Everything and everyone was drenched as if it had rained heavily.”


Norma was born in Huaraz, Peru, a small town located on the foothills of the Andy Mountain Range. She attended Santa Rosa de Viterbo Catholic school through high school, and graduated from the University of Lima, Peru with a Bachelor of Science in medical lab technology. Later, she immigrated to the United States, and worked in an Allergy Medical Clinic. This is what she recalls of the Celebracion de Festival.

Norma has been partaking in this festival for as long as she can remember. The festival always takes place in the month of February. This period of festival occurs immediately preceding Lent (between Ash Wednesday and Easter) and is observed by mostly Roman Catholic Countries, particularly by people of Latin origins. Carnival is especially dominant in Brazil, but as the residence of Huaraz took their religion seriously, they joined in on the festivities. Norma always looked forward to it because it was hot and was a good time to play with water. She said it was a fun way to get involved. Yet, the connection between water and Carnival was never known to her.

Festival is part of Norma’s heritage. It part of her tradition and part of who she is. Living in America now, she can no longer throw water at stranger that pass in the street for it is not the customary here. In America, “people might sue”. It didn’t matter your age. She said that some older men sit down with the hose ready. People would walk around with their water guns in hand. There was no consideration for anyone if they’re around.

From an outsider perspective, I think this could possible be one of the greatest festival ever: a legalized national water fight. Comparing our society to those of Latin America, there is a difference in the seriousness of things. Americans have a set perception that it is better to labor and be more efficient, working toward the future, then enjoying the present day. In Peru, they enjoy the festivities and reflecting on the past and the traditional values they holds. It a day of living in the present, where the economic driven mindset of American and their forward thinking is absent from their minds.

It’s strange to think that an entire nation would legalize a national water fight day. However, as mentioned earlier, Peru is a very religious and Catholic country. Lent is a quiet, somber time of appreciation. This period preceding it is therefore filled with joy and life as the community prepares for the special occasion.

A thing to note is that Peru is very close to the equator and located in the Southern Hemisphere, which means it is summer during February. The idea of throwing water at each other is an ideal way to cool off from the heat.

Holiday – Peru

“El 23 de Junio en la noche la gente del vecindario se reunia y hacia una fogata en la calle, quemando las cosas y ropa vieja. La gente para divertirse saltaba sobre el fuego y decian chistes. La ciudad asta rodeada de cerros y se veian fogatas a todo el rededor y era muy atractivo. Cuando todo terminaba apagaban con agua por seguridad.”

“On June 23, during the night, the people of the neighborhood gather and have a bonfire in the street, burning the things and old clothes. The people, to have fun and be entertained, jump over the fire and tell jokes.  The city is surrounded by mountains and when you look around you see small bonfires to all around in the mountains and it is very beautiful.  When we are all finished, they put out the fire with water for security.

Superstition: Go around the block with an empty luggage. It symbolizes that you will make a trip sometime in the next year. “


Norma Winston was born in Huaraz, Peru, a small town on the foothills of the Andy Mountain Range. She attended Santa Rosa de Viterbo Catholic school through high school, and graduated from the University of Lima Peru with a Bachelor in Science in medical lab technology. Growing up her family owned two farms run by local native Indian. Also, many Indians from the mountains would make the journey to town to trade and barter.

Norma was a young girl when she first celebrated the Day of the Indians on July 23rd and 24th. In Peru, there is a huge Indian population, descending thousands of years from their ancestors the Incas. This day was to pay tribute to them. It’s a tradition everyone did, for generation after generations, and still occurs in present society. She does not remember when it started. The next day everyone wakes up early and goes to clean up the street.

The superstition is something everyone takes part in. The empty suitcase is derived from burning old clothes or other unnecessary items. Thus, there is space for new items to collect. I feel like this is equivalent to America’s spring cleaning, getting rid of the old and making way for the new. Also, I noticed when one goes on a trip, on the flight or journey home, there are always more items that come back. Going with an empty suitcase, leaves room plenty of room for new items. I feel that these are very capitalistic notions that are engraved into society, common in North America but surprising coming from South America. These counties are classified as poorer countries where the means to replace burn items may be harder to obtain. Although it may stimulate the economy in North America, it may not necessarily do so in Latin America.

Meanwhile, the Indians or indigenous people of Peru were considered the poor of society, so then what did they burn? It quickly becomes apparent that although, the Indians were celebrated, they did not really partake in the celebration. One reason was their economic standing. They were too poor to burn cloths that would keep them warm during the cold winter. Also, the Indians did not live in the cities. They lived in the mountains and on the farms. Norma’s mother told her that sometimes they burned branches. However, I find it ironic to have a day dedicated to the indigenous population, if they are not involved. The Incas conquered amazing feats that rival the Seven Wonders of the World. I find it sad that not much more was recognized during the time period she was growing up.  It almost seems like it was a celebration geared for those that conquered and took control of the land so very long ago.

Additionally, in America we have regulated burn days, with very stick rules and regulations. To have a burn day the Air Pollution Control district must find a day that meets 17 different pieces of criteria. The days are not set, for the conditions must be just right. Also, specific areas are labeled no burn zones. Thus, you must live in a burn zone to be able to burn old items. This is interesting for the Amazon is in Peru and an accidental fire there will have more severe consequences than in the United States, as stationed firefighters watch the regulatory burn zones.

Ritual – Peru

“Todos los anos en Febrero la pareja que habia sido escojida para poner el arbol de carnaval invitaba a sus amigos y familia a celebrar en un fin de semana.

En la manana plantaban el arbol (cherry tree) en un parque y lo decoraban con pequenos regalos y globos, despues regresaban a la casa y tenian un almuerzo muy rico incluyendo postres y frutas. En la tarde todos iban al parque a celebrar EL CORTE DEL ARBOL con musica y bailes al rededor del arbol, despues de cada baile con un hacha (axe) cortaban el arbol hasta que se caiga, la pareja que hacia caer el arbol era designada para el proximo ano.”

“Every year, in February, the couple who was designated/ chosen to do the tree of carnival invited their friends and family to celebrate in a weekend.  In the morning, the men cut and planted a cherry tree in a park. The men are responsible for getting the tree, while the women cooked. The tree was decorated with small gifts and presents. After going to the house for a very nice lunch including desserts and fruits, they returned in the afternoon to the park to celebrate THE CUT OF THE TREE with music and dancing.  While participants dance around it, they take a chop at it with an axe or machete. The dance continues until the tree is chopped down and the gifts are shared. The couple that brings the tree down is in charge of organizing the Yunza gifts and feast for the following year.”


Norma Winston was born in Huaraz, Peru, a small town on the foothills of the Andy Mountain Range. She attended Santa Rosa de Viterbo Catholic school through high school and graduated from the University of Lima Peru with a Bachelor in Science in medical lab technology.

Norma had been watching this ritual occur since she was a young girl. It occurred throughout the town with different groups of people participating in different areas during the month of February. Usually groups consisted of close family, friends, and neighbors. Although the Carnival was celebrated differently throughout the different areas/regions of Peru, everyone celebrated the Yunza the same way.

I find it interesting that the Yunza unifies the country during this time preceding Lent. Although the city of Hauraz celebrates el celebracion de festival with a water fight, a city far away might do a parade or have a village gathering for a feast. This folklore tradition of cutting down a cherry tree provides a united front for Peru.

In way it also reminds me of a piñata, but for adults. The adults each get one swing each time around to try to chop the tree down. When the tree falls, the presents hanging on the tree fall to the ground. Then there is a mad scramble of people of all ages to get a present. This represents a manner in which adults can be young again.

Song – California

“B-î-G ma-cks—FI-lay-A Fish

Quarter Pounder—FRENCH Fries

I-cy Cola—thi-ck sha-kes


Apple pie

Big Macs— Fillet-a-fish,

Quarter-Pounder—French fries

Icy Cola—Thick shakes,


Apple pies”

Big macs, Fillet-a-fish = hands together; slap each other on right and left side twice

Quarter-Pounder—French fries= Outside hand goes up and hits each other, hand goes back down to tap own hand, then goes below hand to hit each other again

Icy-cola= slaps right hand on waist, drops left hand

Thick shakes= Index finger of right hand goes up in the air and is twirled

Sundays and apple pies= grab corresponding right hand; grab corresponding left hand; (forms X) and bounce together


Angela has lived in California all her life, and now attends the University of Southern California, majoring in English. Her beliefs are .She first learned this game in third grade during recess from her classmates. At the time she did not realize she was reciting the McDonalds Menu. It was one of the many songs she sang and played. Looking back on it now, she thinks the song may have come from the 70’s because “that’s when McDonalds was in and popular.”

We know that McDonald first opened in 1955, Thus the terminus post quem for this pieced of folklore must be at least after that date. TV dinners and fast food enterprises gained popularity during the 1960’s and 70’s. To be more specific the Big mac made its daybue in 1968. Thus, we can move the terminus post quem up until that point. Moreover, this is a prime example of a possible commercial advertisement becoming folklore. When a commercial advertisement becomes engrained in a culture, that when you know its going to last a while. However, usually advertisers take a piece of folklore already existing in society and interweave it into a commercial or advertisement. This is one of those rare cases, where the opposite has occurred. And it has occurred targeting kids. Children are great, ideal sources for spreading folklore, for they absorb information fast and then want to tell everyone they know what they had just learned. This is more exposure and free advertisement for McDonalds not to mention that children tend to have some leeway when it comes to getting what they want. The reputation of the song over and over again, may make McDonalds very appealing once lunch time comes around. Also, it is very hard for a parent to look into their children’s eyes and tell them no. This may be due to the adult’s romantic notions on children’s innocence; children have not yet been corrupted by society, which enables them to get what they want. This could attribute to McDonalds earlier business success.


“Down by the banks of the hanky-pankey

Where the bull frogs jump from bank to bankey

Singing Eaps, Ips, Ops, Uops, Tiddly Windly, Bing Bong!”

She stood in a circle with a group of girls. Her right hand was placed facing upwards, on top of the left hand of the girl to her right. Her left hand was placed below the right hand of the girl to her left. One girl started it off by taking her top hand (right hand) and hitting/tapping the girl’s hand to her left, which was on top of her own hand. As the song progressed, each girl would hit/tap the hand of their adjacent person. When the note “bong” was sung, that person who was last slapped was out. She could avoid getting out, if she was quick enough to pull her hand out of the way, so that the last person would wind up slapping her own hand. This continued until it was down to the last two people. The last two people would then grab each others hand as if they were going to thumb wrestle. They would then move their arms, back and forth in one fluid motion, singing the song. When it ended on bong, each person would try to make the other person fall by pulling them. The person most successful at making the other stumble won the game.


Angela learned this song in third grade. It was very popular to play during recess. All the girls would gather together and play until it was time to go in. Boys did not partake in the activity. She learned “Down by the Banks” from her classmates.

This popular hand game, although seems innocent enough has sexual connotation to it. The title itself includes the word Hankey Pankey. The definition of this word means adultery or illicit sexual relations. The story goes that a bullfrog, a male, will jump from bank to bankey, or from woman to woman. More specifically, he is jumping from girl to girl around the circle. He’s singing Eaps, Ips, Ops, Uoops. These words are onomatopoetic, giving the impression of wrongdoing. The word bong symbolizes that he gets caught for his inexcusable actions. It is interesting to notice that only girls play the game and they are trying to catch the bullfrog, or in simpler words, women are trying to catch a cheating husband. If they caught him, they will hit the hand of another. If they miss, they hit their own hand. The phrase down by the banks can be traces back to the city of Liverpool, England. There the phrase means to tell someone off, which is very appropriate for this scenario.