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.