Foto Friday: Mother’s Day

Here in Perú, Mother’s Day is celebrated on the same date as in the United States; the second Sunday of May. However, despite being on the same date, the manner in which Mother’s Day is celebrated here in Perú is quite different from what I was accustomed to in the U.S. Personally, my family would celebrate Mother’s Day by buying my mom a gift (usually flowers for outside) and having a nice meal. Probably a card or two as well, especially when I was younger.

However, here in Caraz, things are done a bit differently. Mother’s Day is a huge affair, involving lots of activities and events to celebrate mothers, most notably in the form of big giveaways. You see, there is the expectation here in Caraz that for Mother’s Day (and some other holidays), that the Municipality take a page from Oprah’s book and just give away a crap ton of free stuff. And so, in the days leading up to this past Sunday, there were several Mother’s Day events held in the different neighborhoods around Caraz where mothers and their families gathered for a show (music, clown, fun & games…), after which they received a gift basket filled with items such as cooking oil, sugar, flour, milk, etc. Multiple of these events happened in the 2-3 days before the actual Mother’s Day, and my host-mom told me that she knew of several mothers who were double and even triple dipping to get as much free stuff as possible.

Now, my Gerencia was in charge of organizing the biggest give-away, which was for the many mothers who work in the three Markets in Caraz. So, from 6-11pm on Friday night of last week, I was with my coworkers wrapping an inordinate amount of kitchen appliances that were to be given away the following day. Now, we gave away, completely for free, hundreds of irons, rice cookers, blenders, sandwich makers, and many other things, all of which we had to wrap up in a type of plastic wrapping paper.

Wrapping up the hundreds of kitchen appliances the Muni was giving away to the moms.
Wrapping up the hundreds of kitchen appliances the Muni was giving away to the moms.

I was personally overwhelmed by the extravagance and apparent waste of resources, but I was also very tired at the time and hadn’t eaten anything for 8 hours, so I was ready to complain about anything.

The day of the actual event, they set up a stage in the Market and things kicked off with a teacher from my local school serenading the audience with love songs in Spanish. In true Peruvian fashion, a clown who engaged several moms and dads in the audience in various activities then followed him up. Unfortunately, I had to leave early due to another obligation, so I missed out on the grand dole-out of gifts to the market moms.

While I don’t necessarily agree with the Mother’s Day activities here in Caraz, it was interesting to get a different perspective on this important holiday. As I said in my 1 Year in Perú post, celebrating Mother’s Day further confirmed to me that there is no one right way to do anything.

And, just to show that Caraz Mother’s Day celebrations are NOT a Perú-wide standard, last year when I celebrated Mother’s Day with my training host-family, there was no big free-stuff give away to celebrate Mother’s Day; it was actually much more similar to how I would celebrate in the US.

And I must repeat again that Perú is very diverse, and that my experience in Caraz is NOT applicable to the entire country; generalizations generally aren’t the best, and this is even more so the case in Perú.

Hope you enjoyed the second installment of Foto Fridays!


Foto Friday

So this is the second of the weekly themes that I am now incorporating into my blog, the other having been Martes de Música.

On Foto Fridays, I will post a photo I’ve taken here in Perú, along with a brief explanation of the story behind the photo, or its significance.

For the first installment, we have a photo of my host-brother during his 5th birthday this past February.


So right off the bat, I’m sure you notice that his face is covered with icing, and in my opinion giving him the appearance of a cat or a raccoon. Now maybe you are thinking the explanation for his icing-face is that he is a little kid and just couldn’t wait to try some of that sweet, sweet cake. However, you would be mistaken with that line of thinking.

In Perú, there is the widespread tradition of the birthday boy or girl taking a bite out of their cake. However, what usually happens is they go in for the bite, and someone else either pushes the cake into their face, or their face into the cake. I’ve personally witnessed this happen at least 5 different times, and have no doubt that when my birthday rolls around next month, I will meet the same fate as my host-brother.

Again, this is another tradition that I think we should adopt back in the US. What could be better to liven up a birthday party than a face full of cake?

Let me know if you try it out at your next relative’s cumpleaños.