CelebrationsFestivalsTraditions

The most unusual celebrations of Bolivia

Firework in the night La Paz, Bolivia

Bolivia is a perfect place for everyone who is really into celebrating and having fun. Bolivians know a lot about proper celebrations and they particularly enjoy festivals and parades. Some of them are super massive such as, for example Carnaval offering their visitors an unforgettable experience of watching over 150 bands performing at a time. Yet,  there are also just curious or even somewhat weird celebrations held in Bolivia which you should also be aware of.

Ñatita festival

Ñatita festival is a Bolivian version of the Day of the Dead celebrated in Mexico. The festival takes place in La Paz in the autumn, usually in early November.

Ñatita festival is particularly well-known for its specific tradition of decorating human skulls with various objects. Some of the most frequently chosen decorations are flowers, hats and even cigarettes.

The belief behind this tradition is in the protection of the deceased people which can be gained in such a curious way. The most interesting part ids certainly the source of the skulls. Traditionally, they are supposed to be the skulls of the ancestors of the people who are decorating them however, not everyone can boast about owning such skulls at home. In such a case, the solution is pretty simple. All a person needs to do is to reach special grave diggers who can easily bring one a skull for celebration.

It is still crucial to note that this tradition is not popular all over the country. It is more typical for a particular community of the Aymara indigenous people living in La Paz.

Alasitas

Another curious festival of Bolivia is Alasitas. This is an intriguing event during which thousands of indigenous residents of Bolovia are going to La Paz visiting special markets selling their dreams. In fact, these are small replicas of the things people which to receive the next year. In order to get their magical power, these things should be blessed by either a catholic priest or a witch doctor, however, some people use the blessings of both of them.

Tinku Festival

Tinku Festival has a very serious meaning to Bolivians, although it can seem weird and may be somewhat insane to tourists who are not particularly willing to visit it. There is nothing strange in such concern since it might be not exactly a safe idea.

The whole festival is actually one brutal fight of Bolivians. It might appear unnecessary aggressive to visitors, however, the idea behind this tradition is appeasing mother nature with the blood which will help people to have a bountiful harvest.

Nuestro Señor del Gran Poder

Even though there is nothing particularly strange in Nuestro Señor del Gran Poder as this event is just a parade dedicated to Jesus Christ, many people find it inappropriate. The reason for it is a huge amount of alcohol consumed by Bolivians both participating in the parade and just enjoying it.

Festival of Virgen de la Candelaria

One of the raucous festivals held in Bolivia is dedicated to Virgen de la Candelaria. Virgen de la Candelaria is a small statue presumably of huge significance to people as Bolivians believed it had enough power to save the lives of fishermen who were in danger at the same time absolutely destroying non-believers. For that reason, the statue also has its own church and of course, the festival for commemorating its power.

Today Virgen de la Candelaria is a great feast with marching bands, beautiful dances and lots of beer.

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