Daniel Salazar, former Peru Country Manager, writes about three unusual things Peruvians do during Christmas. This is #1: Hot Chocolate & During Christmas.
#1. Hot Chocolate During Christmas
Another Christmas tradition in Peru is drinking hot chocolate. Hot chocolate in Peru is made from cacao melted with milk and sometimes mixed with coffee and spices. Of course, there is nothing weird about hot chocolate, and although it is grease, it can be considered a healthy drink. What is weird then about drinking hot chocolate?
Unlike other cultures, Peruvians only drink hot chocolate during the holiday season. That is, Peruvians won’t drink hot chocolate any other time of the year; if they did, it would just be weird. Also, hot chocolate usually accompanies panettone, so during Christmas, Peruvians must have both panettone and hot chocolate, or else it doesn’t feel like Christmas.
But by far, the most bizarre thing about the hot chocolate tradition in Peru is precisely the time of the year when it takes place: IT’S SUMMER! Peruvians drink a super-hot drink full of calories in the middle of a sunny 80-85 degrees day. Though they might be sweating in the process, Peruvians love to drink up their hot chocolate in the middle of the summer, and they enjoy it very much.
Why would anyone do that?
This tradition began in Cuzco, which isn’t as hot during the holiday season. Also, Peruvians probably got the idea from the U.S., where it would make sense to have a hot drink during the holiday season.
As a Peruvian, I cannot defend this tradition; it just makes no sense. But also, as a Peruvian, I do it too. The great thing about this tradition, though, is that kids in Peru love to drink their hot chocolate with a piece of panettone. Volunteers and I have the chance to provide the children of PPA and Alto Progreso with this opportunity, which they otherwise wouldn’t have. I cannot guarantee that you will enjoy drinking hot chocolate in the middle of the summer, but I can guarantee that sharing a holiday meal with the kids at PPA or Alto Progreso will make for an unforgettable Christmas.