PERU'S GUINEA PIG FESTIVAL

Once a year, Peru celebrates the appropriately named Guinea Pig Festival.  The tradition dates back 15 centuries all the way back to Incan times.

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First, the Guinea Pig (or "Cuy" as the Peruvians call them) are dressed up in cute little outfits.

Prizes are awarded or Best Dressed Guinea Pig and Biggest Guinea Pig.

After the Cuy dress parade, the cute little rodents are pampered and fed a delicious meal fit for a king!

And then... omigod!!!!!!!

Although valued as a pet in many parts of the world, Guinea pigs were originally domesticated in the Andes for their meat. Traditionally, the animal was usually reserved for ceremonial meals by indigenous people in the Andean highlands, but since the 1960s it has become more socially acceptable for consumption by all people.  It continues to be a major part of the diet in Peru and Bolivia, particularly in the Andes Mountains highlands; it is also eaten in some areas of Ecuador (mainly in the Sierra) and Colombia.  Because guinea pigs require much less room than traditional livestock and reproduce extremely quickly, they are a more profitable source of food and income than many traditional stock animals, such as pigs and cows; moreover, they can be raised in an urban environment. Both rural and urban families raise guinea pigs for supplementary income, and the animals are commonly bought and sold at local markets and large-scale municipal fairs.

Guinea pig meat is high in protein and low in fat and cholesterol, and is described as being similar to rabbit and the dark meat of chicken..

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