The family gathering and celebration that accompanies the completion of one’s roof has surprisingly profound origins in Peru’s past…
If you have ever been lucky enough to attend the party that follows the finishing of someone’s roof in Peru, you know that it is a very special and unique event. Perhaps you have never heard of it. Essentially, it is the celebration of the completion of one’s home and is always celebrated the day that the roof is filled in with cement.
During the first half of the day, the construction team completes the filling-in of the roof of the house being built, while the family begins to prepare food for all the family members who will be trickling in as the afternoon approaches.
After the completion of the roof, a bottle of champagne is tied to the roof. Then the “Godfather” of the gathering or their spouse breaks the champagne with a hammer from a window or by throwing stones at the bottle. The champagne spills onto the ground, and everyone eats, drinks, and dances through the afternoon and well into the night.
The “Godfather” of the gathering is often a relative or a close family friend, and may even be the lead builder of the house. It is also their job to pay for the champagne and all the beer consumed throughout the day, so it is not a title to be given or taken lightly!
But what of the origins of la techada? There are mentions in the Inca chronicles of these events after the finishing of a roof: the whole village gathered in a massive celebration that involved animal sacrifices, fancy garments, the burning of coca leaves, and the throwing of cups filled with “chicha”, an Incan fermented corn-based drink, from the top of the roof, according to WAPA.
While not celebrated exactly the same way these days, la techada has lost none of its spirit or significance. It is a unique feature of the Sierran culture today and a testament to the legacy of the Inca civilization that continues to live on in everyday customs and practices of millions of Peruvians.
Let us know your own thoughts and experiences!