Cusco – Why People Wear Yellow Underwear At New Year

Date: February 04,2011 By: Karen Categories: News

People from Cusco in Peru have an extreme interpretation of the classic New Year phrase, “Out with the old, in with the new”. Find out more in this article, especially if you are thinking about a Peru vacation over the holiday period.

Burning Issues

Fed up with your wardrobe? No problem. Now is the time to burn it all and go buy a whole new set of clothes. Fed up with a particular politician, or something in the last year you would like to forget? Dress up a doll to symbolize what you want to leave behind, and then ceremonially burn it in the street.

For a more private ceremony, a friend of mine from Cusco writes down what she would like to leave behind and burns the paper. On another paper are her wishes for the new year. She keeps the paper in a safe place, hoping they will come true.

A Colourful Attitude

If you head down to the busy Cuzco market of El Molino you will find stalls spilling out onto the roads outside selling heaps of yellow knickers. Why? Wearing yellow on New Year’s Eve brings good luck.

However, yellow isn’t the only option. If it’s love you are after, go for red; then there’s green for money and white for health. You can also light candles in the color of your wishes. In case you are wondering, yellow underwear can be worn under OR outside your clothes. You can also team the underwear with huge comic glasses and heaps of confetti (yellow of course).

Running Rings Around New Year

Head out to the Plaza de Armas on December 31st and you will find the streets filled with people in all kinds of fancy dress, with yellow much in evidence. Watch out though as the main square gets crowded fast near midnight. Another belief is that it brings good luck to go around the square three times. If you want to travel in the new year, don’t forget to take your suitcase with you for the circuit!

Fireworks, Cusco Style

At midnight the fireworks are off, both in the sky and on the ground. Things can get pretty scary! If you don’t want to take your chances in the square, settle in one of the balconies overlooking. Better still, find a rooftop with views of the whole city. You will see that it’s not just in the main square – every home in Cusco seemingly has its fireworks and they cover the entire city and up into the hills around.

Wherever you end up you are sure to go back to your bed in the morning tired, with a few more friends…and with lots of yellow confetti in your clothes.

photo from

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