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Happy Chinese New Year… From Peru!

Lima Chinatown. Image on Flickr by user patrikalex (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Lima Chinatown. Image on Flickr by user patrikalex (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Peru is a pluricultural place and as such, has space in its calendar for celebrations involving places and cultures that might at first seem very remote from the South American republic.

The enthusiastic celebrations of Chinese New Year in the country are a case in point.

For visitors to Peru, the Chinese community is very visible, the result of an immigración that took place between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. The Peruvian-Chinese Association website sums up the links between the two countries as follows: 

Los primeros inmigrantes chinos llegaron al Perú colmados de esperanzas e ilusiones, en busca de una mejor vida y un futuro prometedor. Gracias a su gran tenacidad, esfuerzo y laboriosidad hicieron realidad sus sueños.

Hoy en día, apreciamos su influencia y su presencia, en los diferentes ámbitos de la realidad peruana y sobre todo, su contribución en la fusión de dos culturas milenarias.

The first Chinese immigrants arrived to Peru full of hopes and illusions, looking for a better life and a promising future. Thanks to their great tenacity, effort and laboriousness they saw their dreams come true.

Today we appreciate their influence and their presence, in the different spheres of Peruvian reality and, above all, in the merge of two millenary cultures.

These early Chinese immigrants initially settled in the Peruvian coastal valleys before dispersing across the country. Over time, they became the most populous of the Asian communities living in Peru, having influence in many areas of Peruvian culture. People of Chinese descent are know as tusán, a word taken from Chinese 土生 pinyin: tǔ shēng, jyutping: tou2 saang1, and translating as ‘born local’.

Perhaps the most noticeable contribution made by settlers from the Middle Kingdom was culinary. In Peru, Chinese dishes — mostly inspired by recipes from Canton region with some adaptations made for the Peruvian palate — came to be known locally as chifa. The restaurants serving this food can be found both in the capital, Lima and a number of other Peruvian cities. 

Every year, Peru joins celebrations of Chinese New Year from the streets of Lima Chinatown, located a few blocks away from Lima Main Square. This year — the Year of the Goat — was no exception, as an announcement on the website Publimetro made clear:

Los festejos para recibir el Año Nuevo Lunar de la oveja aún continuará (sic) hasta el 19 de febrero. Esta festividad se celebra en la segunda luna nueva después del solsticio de invierno (entre el 21 de enero y el 19 de febrero).

The celebrations of the incoming Lunar New Year of the goat will go on until February 19. This date is celebrated on the second new moon after the winter solstice (between January 21 and February 19).

On their Facebook page, the Peruvian Chinese Association expressed their best wishes:

Hoy la Asociación Peruano China les desea a todos un !Feliz #AñoNuevoChino 2015! 新年好 ! 羊年大吉! 喜氣羊洋 ! xin nian hao!

Today, the Peruvian Chinese Association wishes you all a Happy Chinese New Year 2015! 新年好 ! 羊年大吉! 喜氣羊洋 ! xin nian hao!

On Twitter users tweeted images and goodwill:

Today we celebrate Chinese New Year, and it's celebrated with the preparation of diverse dishes. Yummy!

And the Peruvian Chinese Association linked to an article about the significance of the Year of the Goat:

Do you know the spirit of the goat? How is the man, woman or child born on any Year of the Goat? What will this year have in store for you?

Foreign diplomatic delegations were not going to be left out:

British Embassy in Lima wishes everybody a Happy New Chinese Year.

Another tweep focussed on recent measures to reduce pollution in celebrations of the holiday in China:

Chinese New Year: less fireworks due to pollution.

While some waxed astrological in the build-up to the big event:

The new moon is in Aquarius on Wednesday 18 at 6:45 PM, Peru time. It enters Pisces minutes later. Chinese New Year tomorrow night.

To all Global Voices readers, whatever your part of the world, happy Year of the Goat!

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