4. Various of people with masks walking in and out of private rooms where healers are meeting with people
5. Wide of dozens of people waiting to go inside a room to see a Yatiri healer (a word that in Aymara means person who knows) in private, where people will get a ritual with flowers called flowering bath, for good luck in the New Year
6. Stalls where healers sell different items that people believe will bring them good luck, good fortune
7. People purchasing miniatures that depict or symbolize what their wishes are
8. Various of vendors ringing bells on miniatures called Alasitas to give them good vibes
9. People buying figurines, or Alasitas
10. Wide of wish fair
11. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Lidia Cortez, businesswoman and organizer of Wish Fair in Lima:
"(Good) health (is what most are here to wish for this year), they come here for health. But they all want for things to go well. We hope that this pandemic passes; we cannot stop projecting that (referring to continuing wishing for a good outcome) because of the pandemic, the thing is to lift our spirits (so people can feel better and their health improves)."
12. People at Wish Fair
13. Various of healers performing a flowering bath on a woman
14. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Brigite Garcés, local woman who comes every year to the fair:
(Question: what is it that Peruvians are wishing more for this year?)
"More than anything else, it is health, work and money."
15. Various of flowering bath
16. (Spanish) Victoria Hancco, Healer:
"Doing the cleansings, the flowering baths, so we can welcome the New Year, so that there is peace this year, tranquility, more than anything so that there is health, so that all the diseases are eliminated and leave behind all the sorrow we've experienced, (since) we have lost loved ones."
17. Victoria Hancco using a ostrich egg to do a cleansing
At a traditional Wish Fair in Peru's capital Lima, wishes for good health and a better 2021 have particular significance at the end of a year that was dominated by the pandemic and brought hardship for many.
Despite the fact that thousands died in Peru in 2020 and more than a million were infected with COVID-19, Peruvians have not lost hope that the coming year will be better.
That is why many attend a "Feria de los Deseos", believing they can bring upon themselves the mystical luck that originated in the Altiplano plateau shared by Bolivia and Peru and has since spread to Chile and Argentina.
The hundreds of miniatures that purportedly make wishes come true are made of ceramic or paper.
Miniature certificates of good health, professional diplomas, high denomination miniature money, baby dolls of both sexes, and houses, buildings or specific businesses such as a bookstore or a pharmacy are sold at the fair.
"It is for people to visualize it and fulfill the project they want," explained Lidia Cortez, the entrepreneur who organized the Wish Fair in Lima. "It can be a house, a trip, a promotion at work, open a chain of stores, have a fleet of cars, for health," she said.
The miniature is called "Alasita" which means "buy me" in the Aymara language, the language spoken in the Altiplano. The item has to be blessed by a healer before it can be used.
For a few coins, men and women who claim to be the best healers in southeastern Peru throw yellow flower petals and rub an ostrich egg on a client's body to ward off bad luck and attract good fortune.
The only wish that cannot be materialized is to be cured or protected against the new coronavirus that in Peru has killed more than 37,400.
"We are not doing anticovid treatments, rather we raise the morale of depressed people," said Cortez.
Peru's health authorities have warned citizens against believing in mystical treatments and letting their guard down when it comes to the new coronavirus pandemic.
Peruvians this year above all we want health, work, money and a lot of love, according to fair organizers.
Lima, with almost 10 million inhabitants, is inhabited mostly by migrants from the Andes who arrived in the mid-20th century or their descendants.