Sunday, April 9, 2017

Peruvians Love Inaugurations!

In the western world when the word inauguration is used it usually means a formal ceremony with dignitaries to mark the beginning of something grand; a new president, the Hoover Dam, the Golden Gate Bridge, the London Tower, etc. Peru does that too, inaugurating new schools, hospitals, parks and the like, but inaugurations are not held only for big ticket events. It is customary to have a formal ceremony for the opening of a new bakery, pharmacy, private office and such. A new house, apartment or condo also qualifies for inauguration.

Being a predominantly Catholic country the ceremony usually involves a priest walking from room to room, sprinkling holy water and blessing the enterprise. If a priest is not available any lay-person can do it. Maribel has often drenched people with holy water while blessing a new dwelling. She laughs while doing it. That doesn't seem very solemn to me. After the object has been blessed, token (teeny weeny) drinks and sandwiches are given to the invited guests. These kinds of ceremonies usually last from 30 to 45 minutes.

The vast majority of inaugurations are held for small-scale neighborhood events. Marie planted a new shrub? Pablo got a new tire for his tico taxi? Juan and Esmeralda have a new front door? Hey!....let's inaugurate!! Nobody is going to convince me that these so called ceremonies are anything more than an excuse for a party. Last night in Las Muses park an inauguration took place to commemorate the grand opening of Carlos' food truck.

It was coincidental that last week I read an article about food trucks in Milwaukee. I didn't know Milwaukee had food trucks. I didn't know that food trucks existed anywhere in the USA outside of that weird Coney Island section of New York (to my knowledge Promesa Peru has never received a donation from Coney Island so I feel okay insulting it). Back to Carlos' food truck.

The ceremony began with the unveiling of the truck's interior. Everything was shiny and squeaky clean. We'll see how long that lasts. Carlos made a speech about the truck, and how he intended it to be a long-term business for his son and son-in-law. Then different family members took turns blessing the truck and sprinkling it with holy water.

The ceremony ended with free Pisco Sours distributed to the guests. When the drinks were finished the crowd converged on the truck to order food (not free) from the menu. The empanadas were especially good, filled with meat and a tasty sauce.

Carlos' truck joins about six others that normally park in the evening on that stretch of the road bordering Las Musas park. We hope the business is successful. We'll do our share to support it, as long as he continues to sell those delicious empanadas.

1 comment:

  1. Here in Tarapoto, the locals love to inaugurate freshly-paved roads. Even if it's just a single block, one that was always dirt but is now freshly covered in asphalt, there's normally bunting hung above the street and often a concert for all the neighbors.