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Peru is located in Western South America, by the southside of the Pacific Ocean and near Ecuador, Brazil, Colombia, Bolivia and Chili. It is between the Equator and the Tropic of Capricorn. Peru’s climate varies from hot and tropical to dry desert in the west. Peru’s the currency is the nuevo sol. We don't exactly know where the word Peru comes from, but it is believed to be a mispronunciation of the word beru, meaning river. The capital of Peru is Lima which is also their largest city.
Peru’s population is around 31,036,656.
We don't know when Peruvians started celebrating Christmas, but it could have been introduced in 1530 when Spaniard Francisco Pizarro arrived in Peru and captured the Incas on November 16th 1533. He most likely had a small Christmas celebration with a few conquistadors.
Now in modern day Peru the holiday season is a festive joyful holiday that marks the beginning of summer. Around 1533 is the time that some of their traditions formed too (although I couldn't find out for sure).
Many things other than Christmas traditions were introduced by the Spaniards, one being their love of bullfighting which was introduced in 1538.
Christmas is considered a national holiday in Peru and many businesses close midday on December 24th and reopen on December 26th. Christmas Eve is when the real Celebration starts. It starts with a Mass at 10 o’clock, which is called the Misa de gallo or Rooster Mass, and afterwards they usually launch fireworks and drink hot chocolate until midnight.
The hot chocolate is usually made with dark chocolate, cinnamon, and cloves. Family members usually start opening presents after midnight. After they open their presents, they sit down, eat dinner and celebrate until four or five a.m. In the Andean culture though, many families open their presents during Epiphany on January sixth.
Traditional Peruvian Christmas decorations are different from those in Europe and North America. Although they have had some influence, many families don’t own a Christmas tree. Instead of putting presents under a tree they would put their presents by the manger scene. They do this because Jesus was the greatest gift of all. Almost every family in Peru decorates heavily with elaborate manger scenes, most of these manger scenes are extensive, detailed and may even take up a whole wall in their house. It’s also not uncommon for Andean families to use alpacas and llamas instead of the more common donkeys and sheep. They also buy and sell a more box like Retablo which during Christmas are designed to depict the nativity scene and were originally used to convert indigenous to Catholicism. Today the nativity scenes are bought at markets to decorate their homes. Below are the ingredients and directions for fruit cake from recipiesandfood.com.
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