Halloween time in Peru is an interesting combination of traditional celebrations and American-style parties. In other words – three eventful and fun days! On October 31, young people will put on masks, dress up in costumes and party all night, while children will dress up as their favorite characters and trick-and-treat with plastic pumpkins asking for chocolates and candies. However, Peru has more to offer at this time of the year!
Traditionally, October 31 in Peru is El Día de la Canción Criolla, or the Day of Criolla music. The music contains Andean, African and Spanish influences, and is accompanied by marinera, the national dance of Peru. The whole night is spent by dancing and singing, often with a pisco or two. The next day on November 1, Peruvians celebrate All Saints’ Day when they pay homage to their departed loved ones. The celebrations are merry and filled with music and delicious food and continue the next day on November 2. People come to the cemeteries for two days to visit their departed loved ones, bring them food, drinks, flowers and miniatures of things that the loved ones liked during their mortal lives. In some areas people even decide to spend a night at the cemeteries, making company to the loved one who, according to the traditional belief, returns for two days to visit the living.
This time of the year is also marked by many special culinary traditions, such as the ¨wawa¨ bread or anchachis (pastry shaped in characters), being sold at the markets and on the streets. At the cemeteries, you can feast on lechon (roasted pork), which is typically eaten at the celebrations. Cusco is especially well known for its baking traditions during this time of the year. If you are in Lima around these days, visit Cementerio de Nueva Esperanza, one of the largest cemeteries in the world, and join the celebrations. It will be an unforgettable experience!