Photo: Terra Hall
Alakazam, alakazoo, witches roam the streets of Lima, Peru.
With Halloween just around the corner, I decided to head to Lima’s Mercado de las Brujas, or Witches’ Market. While these witches don’t wear pointed hats or fly on broomsticks, they do cook up powerful potions and folk remedies said to cure everything from a hangover to a broken heart.
Photo: McKay Savage
It all started in 1968 when U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson proclaimed that he wanted to celebrate one of the fastest growing populations in America – Latinos. Thus, National Hispanic Heritage Week was born. Fast forward to 1989 and that week-long observance was turned into a full month of celebrating the culture and traditions of people who are from or trace their roots to Spain, Mexico or the Spanish-speaking nations from Central America, South America and the Caribbean.
Hispanic Heritage Month kicks off each year on Sept. 15 and it’s for good reason – this day is Independence Day for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Additionally, Mexico and Chile celebrate their Independence from Spain on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively.
While Peru commemorates its Fiestas Patrias - the day the nation broke away from Spain – on July 28, Peruvians by birth and by association (you know, those who just love all things Peru) can still celebrate the Andean nation through Oct. 15.
Here’s our three-step guide to celebrating this month-long American tradition with an air of Peruvian flair!
Photo: Omar Baez Camarena
Colombia is a music-loving country. From the northern tip of the Guajira peninsula to the southern reaches of the Colombian Amazon, the nation pulses with the beats of drums, guitars, percussion and, yes, accordions.
But it’s not a homogenous sound – rather, it’s a symphony of different rhythms, instruments and beats. Each region of the country has its own distinct musical tradition, developed from different cultural influences and the backgrounds of the people living there.
Sometimes it seems like each and every individual town has its own particular musical styling. One of the most important and uniquely Colombian genres, however, is cumbia, a traditional rhythm that blends the musical influences of many of the diverse cultures and ethnicities on Colombia’s Caribbean coast and continues to provide inspiration for many of the most popular Colombian bands today.
Photo: La Noche en Blanco Bogota
This weekend, Bogotá’s bohemian La Soledad neighborhood stayed up well past its bedtime to celebrate the city’s artists and creative types with La Noche en Blanco (“White Night”).
The event, now in its second year in the capital, closed the streets of a popular central neighborhood to cars and opened them to pedestrians, bikers, dogs and art enthusiasts, who strolled freely between performance spaces and projection screens from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Saturday, September 27.
It’s nearly impossible to go anywhere in Colombia without hearing music or seeing people dancing, but the second weekend of September kicks that rhythm into another gear, offering not one, but two world-class events for jazz lovers traveling to Colombia; from the Andean interior to the Caribbean coast.
Photo: Natalie Southwick
As if there weren’t already enough happening in Colombia in August — with Bogotá’s Summer Festival, Medellín’s Flower Festival and the Petronio Álvarez celebration of Afro-Colombian music and culture in Cali – central Colombia’s favorite colonial town, Villa de Leyva, has to get in on the action with a colorful celebration of its own.
Photo: Jorge Gomez
I know August isn’t a popular month back where I’m from, but it’s my favorite month in Bogotá. For Bogotanos, there are generally only two seasons: if it’s sunny, it’s summer; if it’s raining, it’s winter. This can be intensely confusing for anyone who was taught that it’s impossible to have more than one season in a given day, but that’s generally how it works. Except in August.
In the Argentinian capital, the weather is cold – at least relatively speaking. July is the middle of winter in the southern hemisphere, the perfect time to seek out a cozy cup of tea and a little indoor entertainment.
Photo: Paul Silva
While it’s only recently received a nod from the international food community for its innovative dishes, creative ingredients and chefs who are committed to nothing less than perfection, Peru is (and has always been) a serious food country. Case in point – each September it hosts Mistura, South America’s largest and most popular food festival. This year half a million hungry food enthusiasts are expected to visit Costa Verde de Magdalena for the ten-day event which kicks off September 5.
Photo: Hugo Pardo Kuklinski
Brazil has its cachaça, Argentina has laid claim to Malbec, Peru and Chile are perpetually fighting over who has the “real” pisco, and we all know that Nicaragua and Cuba are the places to go for top-shelf rum. When it comes to cocktail hour, Colombia is often the forgotten stepchild, without a readily identifiable liquor to help define it on the world stage.
But just because Colombia hasn’t pioneered something with the popularity of the caipirinha or the pisco sour, that doesn’t mean this dance-crazy country doesn’t love its liquor. Does it ever.
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