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Christmas Update From Kiva

 Here is Kiva’s Christmas letter, shared with permission.  I really enjoyed it!

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Season’s Greetings!

photo of woman in peruAs the holidays approach, there’s no better time to take a look at the different religious and cultural events that Kiva borrowers celebrate year round.

Milk, Candy… Vodka?

During Mongolia’s Tsangaan Sar, or Lunar New Year (usually in February), the focus is on respecting one’s elders. Younger family members gather at the patriarch’s home, where they feast on meat dumplings, milk tea, salad, bread, and candy. But most interestingly, everyone is offered three shots of vodka! Learn more about Tsangaan Sar on the Kiva blog.

Mongolian Dumplings
Buuz are Mongolian Dumplings traditionally served during Tsangaan Sar.

Eight Crazy Nights

Heading to the Southern Hemisphere, Peru’s Inti Raymi is a festival celebrating the winter solstice. For nine days and eight nights, people from around Peru flock to Cusco, where street fairs, theatrical presentations, colorful performances, and a parade lasting almost twelve hours keep the spirit of celebration in the air.

The festival dates to the Ancient Incas, who held it regularly until the 1500s, when the Conquistadores put a stop to it. In 1944 the people of Cusco brought back the festival again, based on observations from historians that accompanied the Conquistadores. The festival honored Inti, one of the most revered gods in the Incan Empire, and was important enough to be attended by the emperor.

Smiling Happy People

From an emperor in Peru, to a queen in the Philippines. The MassKara Festival in Bacolod, Philippines decorates the city with smiling faces– literally! Colorful costumes featuring large smiling face masks adorn elaborately dressed dancers as they compete in a street dance festival that celebrates the resilience and determination of the people of Bacolod. There’s even an (unsurprisingly) well attended beauty pageant, where the winner is crowed “Queen of MassKara”.

A relatively new festival, the MassKara came to life in 1980 as a response to a collapse in the sugarcane market coupled with the sinking of a ferry carrying over seven hundred local people. The city decided it needed to smile, and it’s clear they’ve succeeded.

Learn and Do More

Head over the Kiva Blog to hear first-hand stories about these celebrations (and more) from our Kiva Fellows in the field.

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