Every year during the Christmas holidays in Peru, many local governmental organizations, businesses, and clubs participate in a longstanding tradition: the chocolatada. Designed as an act of giving to rural and low-income communities, the chocolatada is an event during which huge pots of hot chocolate and bread or panetón are distributed to less unfortunate children and families.
Rural children are keen to participate in the event, often walking for miles to receive mugs of steaming hot chocolate, pieces of sweet bread, and Christmas gifts. The annual event is a way to share with folks from outlying communities and let them know they are valued. Often, the shouts and laughter of children fill the air as they enjoy games like relay races and soccer.
For nearly a decade now, Kuoda has following this lovely tradition by hosting a chocolatada for the weaving community of Umasbamba, a place we pour our hearts and resources into on a year- round basis. If you have traveled with us on a private Peru tour, there’s a good chance you visited Umasbamba’s Andean Children’s Learning Center or attended a weaving workshop with the village’s talented weavers.
The chocolatada is our chance to give back and celebrate the community that continues to open their doors so generously to our travelers throughout the year. Their unique traditions and way of life need to be celebrated, supported, and maintained. Our humble gifts, panetón, and an 80-liter pot of homemade hot chocolate is one small way we try to show them just how much they mean to all of us at Kuoda.
A couple of Saturdays ago, we hosted our annual chocolatada in this village that is so special to us. Santa made a surprise visit, games were played, gifts were given, and plenty of panetón and hot chocolate were consumed by all. It was a chocolatada to remember and one that left us already eagerly anticipating next year’s event.
The chocolatada is a wonderful tradition of sharing and community. It is a gift to both the giver and the gifted, as the spirit of sharing, love, and joy that gives meaning to Christmas is brought to life in the Peruvian countryside.