Friday, July 15, 2011

Padrinos de Corte de Pelo

Peru is a land rich in traditions, and though modernization in the big cities may be causing some aspects of that culture to slowly fade away, many customs are still strongly held on to in remote villages. One such custom involves a ceremony centered on a child’s first haircut.

Davis Montenegro is 19 months old. Last month his parents Magno and Juanita decided it was time to get his hair cut. The custom is that family members gather together on the appointed day, and a sponsor or sponsors – “Padrinos de Corte de Pelo” (which translates to Godparents of the Haircut) snips a ceremonial cut of the child’s hair. Photos are taken which will be placed in an album along with the first snips of hair, to be presented to the parents and later to the child when it is older. Then everyone sits down to a big meal. It seems that most Peruvian customs I’m aware of usually involve a big meal somewhere along the line.

When Maribel and I were asked to be sponsors we felt honored and gladly accepted. We had no difficulties with the ceremonial cut, and Maribel kept cutting until the job was done. I don’t know if that was the plan or not but she did it. The only real problem I had was with the meal.

If there is a graceful way to eat cuy (guinea pig) I haven’t found it. The skin is like thick, very elastic rubber; cutting it with a standard knife and fork doesn’t work. There is no choice but to pick it up with your hands and try to bite off the meat without having the skin snap bits of meat all over the table, your dinner companions and your face. I usually don’t succeed but everyone politely ignores my mess unless I’ve showered them too severely.

The Montenegros are good people and Collique Alto is a good place to spend a relaxing half-day. We’ll be back.

Tom and Maribel


  1. Wow , That look so delicious , I wish could tasted it , People that has been in peru say that peruvian food is the best.