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Countdown to Christmas 2016 - Week 7 - Peru

Traditional Peruvian Nativity; photo courtesy of Serrv - Creating Connections




Christmas traditions in Peru date back to 1535 to when the country was pillaged by the Spaniards (although the native Quechuans in the Andes have always maintained a strong cultural identity). Due to the huge Spanish influence, the majority of the population practices Catholicism to this day.  Peru is south of the equator so December is actually the first month of summer.  Since the first day of summer comes just shortly before Christmas, on December 21, Christmas decorations with a snow motif is somewhat peculiar to most people (unless you live in the highlands of the Andes, of course).  This is why the traditional Santa Claus, dressed in heavy red coat, pants, hat and boots  and hat, is not much of a tradition in Peru.  Additionally, the Peruvian government banned Santa Claus in 1972 because they believed that he was a depiction of western capitalism, greed and an anti-Christian myth.





Teal Ladies Lace Shawl Handknit Malabrigo Rios Yarn Solis Small Medium Crescent Handmade by Nancy of Nancy's Knots, Lace and More



Christmas trees are becoming more common in Peru - they can be seen in most main city and town squares during December, as well as in some households.  But the major focus of Christmas decorating in the typical Peruvian home is the pesebre or nativity scene, set up in a front room or living room during December. Most pesebres feature intricate detailing and made out of pottery or carved from wood or huamanga stone. These scenes are often large, sometimes taking up an entire wall, and feature Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the Three Wise Men and other nativity figures. An Andean twist on the typical nativity scene is often seen, with llamas and alpacas replacing the more Biblical images of donkeys, oxen and camels.  The pesebres are kept up until La Bajada de los Reyes, the arrival of the Three Wise Men on January 6.  On December 24, the Plaza de Armas, Cusco’s main square, hosts the annual Santuranticuy (“selling of saints”), a traditional market in which native Quechuan artists and artisans from across the country sell handcrafted pesebres and related religious representations.  This market has been going on for several centuries.  Christmas presents are placed around the household pesebre, left there by El Nino Jesus (Baby Jesus).



Polymer Clay Pink Hearts Goldtone Earrings Handmade by Julie and Blu of BlueMorningExpressions



Another form of decoration is a portable nativity, called a retablo. Retablos are three-dimensional scenes, normally contained within a rectangular box with two doors on the front. They are for sale in markets and souvenir shops throughout the year, especially in the Andean regions of Peru. The scenes contained within a retablo may depict historic or religious events or simple scenes of everyday life, but Christmas retablos typically depict the manger scene.



High Summer Garden Bouquet Stained Glass Quilt Square Handmade by Jo of 2GlassThumbs



In Peru, the biggest day of the holidays is Noche Buena (Good Night) on December 24.  Families come together and take a stroll in their town’s or village’s main square, listening to choirs sing and visiting homes of other family and friends.  At about 10 p.m., church bells throughout Peru ring, calling people to attend a Misa de Gallo (Rooster’s Mass).  After church, fireworks are set off, men pass around cold bottles of beer and presents are opened (except in some Andean communities when the presents are opened on January 6).  Women put the finishing touches on the Cena de Navidad (Christmas dinner).  At midnight, a brindis (toast) is made, the adults toast the Baby Jesus with champagne or other alcoholic beverages and children raise their glasses of hot chocolate.  Then the feasting begins.   




Hand Crocheted Winter White Tablecloth by Cathy of CraftingMemories1



The main item in a traditional Christmas dinner is Peruvian roast turkey, although lechón (roast suckling pig) is a close second.  Other regional variations exist, such as fish dishes on the coast, a classic Andean pachamanca (grilled meat and vegetables cooked in an earth oven) in the highlands or a gallina silvestre al horno (roasted wild chicken) in the jungle. Vegetables, salads, applesauce (a favorite holiday dish) and tamales are common additions to the Christmas meal. For dessert, panetón, a sweet bread loaf of Italian origin filled with raisins and candied fruits, is eaten.  Peruvians eat their panetón with hot chocolate, a traditional Christmas drink throughout the country, even in the sweltering heat of the jungle. Peruvian hot chocolate is made from scratch from rich, dark chocolate and flavored with cloves and cinnamon. Social events, called chocolotadas, in which people gather to drink hot chocolate, take place all during the Christmas season.  



Black and White Zebra Butterfly on Scarlet Flower Photograph by Colleen of ButterflyInTheAttic



With dinner over, the kids are sent to bed. For most adults, however, the Noche Buena celebration is just beginning.  Many families have big house parties that include music and dancing. In order to prepare their homes for the festivities, living rooms and dining rooms will be cleared of furniture in order to transform them into dance floors.  Gifts are often given during the party.  Traditionally, when a gift is given, the two people hug, kiss each other on the cheek and say gracias (thank you) before the person receiving the gift tears into the wrapping paper.  Of course, after celebrating all night long (some parties last until day break), most sleep late into the morning or afternoon of December 25.



Red and Green Christmas Earrings Gold Dangle Handmade by Sharon of BlondePeachJewelry



In Chumbivilcas Province near Cusco, December 25 is the day for Takanakuy (Quechua for "to hit each other").  The festival consists of dancing and of individuals fighting.  The purpose of the fighting is to settle conflicts with an individual, friend, family member or to settle territorial conflicts that have come up throughout the year. The style of fighting used during the celebration is similar to martial arts, involving quick kicking and punching.  The procession to the fighting site starts with a high-pitched falsetto notes sung by male singers.  Once the site is reached, those fighting call out their opponents by their first and last name. They then proceed to the middle of the circle and start the fight. The men (or women) fighting must wrap their hands with cloth before the fight.  Biting, hitting those on the ground, or pulling hair is not allowed during the fight. The winner is selected based upon a knockout or intervention by the official. There are amateur officials who carry whips in order to maintain the crowd under control. At the start and at the end of the fight, the opponents must shake hands or give each other a hug.  If the loser of the fight disagrees with the outcome, he or she can appeal for another fight.



Traditional “Merry Christmas” in Spanish:  Feliz Navidad

“Merry Christmas in Quechuan:  Sumaq kausay kachun Navidad qampaq




Russian Doll Matryoshka Stickers - Set of 50 - Handmade by Nat of Adore by Nat



Now, onto the Countdown to Christmas 2016 - Week 7, filled with artisan handmade items (see above and below), perfect ideas for Christmas gift giving.


With the fast approaching gift giving season in mind, Julie and Blu of Blue Morning Expressions are hosting a twelve-week Countdown to Christmas 2016 on their The Blu Print blog. The twelve week time period was chosen to correspond with the Christmas carol “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”  This week, there were 66 shares by artists of a wide range of handmade gift ideas:  jewelry of all types, pet themed gifts, crocheted and sewn beauties, stickers, wooden items, photography, lampwork beads, stained glass, fused glass and a whole host of other items.




Red Wine and Dark Amber Beadwoven Cuff Boho Bracelet Handmade by Kathy of KatsAllThat




Shop owners on Indiemade, ArtFire, Zibbet, Etsy, SupaDupa, stand alone websites and the like are welcome to share up to three gift items on the Countdown between Friday afternoon at 12:00 p.m. (Eastern time) and Sunday night at 11:59 p.m.  Then a new collection of gift items will begin again the next Friday.  This will continue until the second week in December.  The items shared need to be G-rated.





Red and Gold Snowman Cases, Padded Phone Case, Stocking Stuffer, Grab Bag Gift Handmade by Donna of SewAmazin



If you share items on the Countdown to Christmas, you MUST promote the collection and EACH item on at least one social network site, preferably Pinterest where the items can be easily seen and then saved again.  It's only fair to promote each of the participants who have promoted you!



British Half Penny Coin Pendant George VI Golden Hind Ship Gold Filled Handmade by Diane of beadsouk



In addition to saving each item from the Countdown collection to my Pinterest board and Wanelo collection, I decided to share one item from each of the artists who participated. Here are the rest of the items I’m featuring this week, in an order that was arranged by assigning each item a number and then drawing numbers from my trusty “numbers” bowl. Enjoy!



Blue and Gold Threader Earrings with Chain Handmade by Barbara of SolanaKaiDesigns 



Chunky Knit Hat  Primitive Americana Color, Handmade by Ruth of RSSDesignsInFiber



Etched Halloween Cool Orange Lampwork Glass Beads with Fine Silver Handmade by Charlotte of Covergirlbeads



Hamsa Hand Yoga Earrings with Rudraksha Seeds Handmade by PrettyGonzo 



Child's Full Embroidered Gardening Denim Apron by Mary of SimpleEmbroiderySew



White Iridescent Art Glass Plate with Turquoise Blue Snowflake, 5 Inch Square, Handmade by Kelli of ResetarGlassArt



Word Rock Short Choker Necklace Antiqued Bronze Chain Leather Cord Handmade by Connie of TheSingingBeader



Red Floral Print Infinity Womens Scarf Handmade by Anne of ennadoolf



Earthy Picasso Teardrop Bracelet Handmade by Linda of TreasuresofJewels



Duck Taking Flight Desk Or Shelf Clock From Ash Wood Handmade By KevsKrafts



Candy Cane Earrings Handamde by Linda of lindab142



Chunky Amber Copal and Turquoise Statement Necklace with Sterling Silver Handmade by Catherine of Shadow Dog Designs



I hope you have enjoyed this sampling of some of the handmade gift items that can be found in the Countdown collection hosted by Julie and Blu of Blue Morning Expressions. To see all the items in the collection, please click here: Countdown to Christmas 2016 - Week 7.  I hope that at least one, maybe more, items piqued your interest and made its way to your shopping list.


What will week 8 bring?  MORE handmade and vintage beauties!  I, for one, am looking forward to it!


If you are so inclined, please make my day and leave a comment (:  Also any promotion will be greatly appreciated by everyone featured in this post.  Thank you!


In case you missed the posts from the past weeks, here are links to take you there:

Countdown to Christmas - Week 1 - Norway

Countdown to Christmas - Week 2 - Italy

Countdown to Christmas - Week 3 - Ukraine

Countdown to Christmas - Week 4 - Kenya

Countdown to Christmas - Week 5 - Portugal

Countdown to Christmas - Week 6 - Iceland


My contact information:


Indiemade shop:  ShadowDogDesigns

Indiemade blog:  ShadowDogDesigns' Blog

Artfire studio:  ShadowDogDesigns

ArtFire Blog:  ShadowDogDesigns' Blog

Google+:  Catherine W

Facebook:  ShadowDogDesigns - Jewelry

Twitter:  ShadowDogDesign

Pinterest:  Shadow Dog Designs

Wanelo:  ShadowDog

Amazine:  ShadowDogDesigns

Rebelmouse:  ShadowDogDesigns

Flickr:  Shadow Dog Designs' Photostream




Beautifully Unique Handmade Jewelry

for the Discerning Woman





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Beautiful selections, Catherine. Thank you so much for including my tablecloth. Shared all.

Christmas in Peru

How very interesting to read this post about the Christmas traditions in Peru! Thank you for sharing with us Catherine. Thank you also for including my Christmas earrings. Off to promote!

Wonderful selections. Thank

Wonderful selections. Thank you for including my shawl :)

Takanakuy? Yikes!

Wow, that was interesting. I can't imagine celebrating a holiday like that, where, I believe, in that religion you are taught to turn the other cheek, knowing that you will be fighting someone the next day. Strange custom, if you ask me! But I would love to go Peru one of these days!

Thank you for writing this and for showcasing our handmade gift ideas. Catherine! Will share, of course!

Enjoyed reading

I enjoyed reading! Thank you for your weekly dedication to promote our items! Sharing....

Thanks so much!

Thanks so much for including my infinity scarf! And what an enjoyable read - learning new things each week! :)

How can you pick only one?

These are so gorgeous. How could you pick only one? The shopping cart can fill up with all of these beauties!

Thank you Catherine for this

Thank you Catherine for this lovely selection of handmade items and for this interesting story on Peuvian Christmas traditions. Shared!

Want to go to a chocolotada!

What a fun and very comprehensive picture of Christmas in Peru! Thanks so much - and thanks too for the extra BMECountdown promo and for including my Hamsa Hand earrings. :) Will be sharing, of course! Treats to Le Moosie from Le Gonze!

More Holiday Traditions - and Handmade!

Though I admit that I am more interested in the native traditions of the indigenous peoples in Peru - I find the renditions of what they do in Peru for Christmas with the Spanish influence kind of funny! Thanks for showcasing all the Handmade - including my Winter Hat in Primitive Americana Colors!

A rather unusual Christmas

Well now, don't think I would want to be part of the fighting on Christmas Day! But to each his own I guess. Another informative post about the Peruvian Christmas. Thank you Catherine!

Thank you!

Thanks for sharing Peru's Christmas traditions for us and for including my Snowmen cases in this week's post! Will be sharing.


Catherine, thank you for the post about Peru's customs and for including my candy cane earrings. Will share.

Thank you Catherine

Interesting traditions. Thank you for sharing another fantastic blog. Thanks Catherine for including my bracelet.
Now my turn to share.

What did you get for Christmas?

Knocked out! Wow, talk about a crazy way to spend the holidays, but the other side of it is, what a great way to settle differences. I would imagine that it would deter holding grudges for a year and not irritating your family and friends lest you be left in the dirt. The good news is that you can appeal and do it all over again!

Peru is on my short list since I am only a few hours away from it by plane out of Miami. We looked into going a couple times (especially after I did a dining review for the newspaper I worked for of a Peruvian restaurant), so we looked into a trip. DH wants to go to Machu Picchu. I just want to wrap myself in some of their colorful clothing and learn to cook with all the peppers that make up so much of their rich cuisine.

I love all of these traditions, and am very relieved to find that they enjoy a turkey and baby backs ;) ! I like that they have banned Santa and they spend all of their holiday visiting family and traveling. Great post and thank you so much for all of the history tidbits.

Thanks for including my earrings and for spreading even more cheer!
Treats to Le Moose from snoozing Blu dog.

Thank You

Thank you Catherine for both the interesting read and featuring my child's apron. The collection you have put together is many great gift ideas! Mary

Christmas in Peru sounds so

Christmas in Peru sounds so much fun! I'd love to go to their market. And the festive foods sound so yummy. Not sure about the fights to settle the arguments though. Thank you so much for including my Matryoshka doll stickers. Off to share.

Very informative post! Thank

Very informative post! Thank you for the added promotion and including my snowflake plate :) Have shared -

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