Major Bolivian Cultural Events and Holidays 11.23.08 Trisha Lowe
General Background <ul><li>Bolivia is a country in South America. It has a Native American population which mixed Spanish and West and Central African cultural elements with their ancestors' traditions. The Spanish-speaking population mainly follows the Western customs. </li></ul>
Major Traditions <ul><li>Bolivia has a rich folklore. Its regional folk music is distinctive and varied. The "devil dances" at the annual carnival of Oruro are one of the great folkloric events of South America, as is the lesser known carnival at Tarabuco. </li></ul>
Carnaval de Oruro <ul><li>The best known of the various festivals found in the country is the "Carnaval de Oruro", which was among the first 19 "Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity," as proclaimed by the UNESCO in May of 2001. </li></ul><ul><li>Celebrated in Oruro , the folklore capital of Bolivia, the carnival marks the Ito festival for the Uru people. Its ceremonies stem from Andean customs, the ancient invocations centering around Pachamama (Mother Earth, transformed into the Virgin Mary due to Christian syncretism ) and Tio Supay (Uncle God of the Mountains, transformed into the Devil). The native Ito ceremonies were stopped in the 17th century by the Spanish , who were ruling the territory of Upper Peru at the time. However, the Uru continued to observe the festival in the form of a Catholic ritual on Candlemas, in the first week of each February. Christian icons were used to conceal portrayals of Andean gods, and the Christian saints represented other Andean minor divinities. </li></ul><ul><li>Legend also has it that in 1789, a mural of the Virgin Mary miraculously appeared in a mineshaft of the richest silver mine in Oruro. Ever since, the Carnival has been observed in honour of the Virgen de la Candelaria (Virgin of the Candle Mass) or Virgen del Socavon (Virgin of the Mineshaft). The most important elements of the Carnival now occur in and around the Sanctuaria del Socavon (The Church of the Mineshaft). </li></ul>
Carnival of Oruro Cont <ul><li>The highlight of the Carnival is conducted over three days and nights, with fifty groups parading through the city over a route of four kilometers. The groups represent various indigenous dance forms, and are accompanied by several bands. Over 28000 dancers and 10000 musicians participate in the procession that lasts 20 hours. The dances include Caporales , Diablada , Kantus , Kullawada , Llamerada , Morenada , Potolo , Pujllay , Suri Sikuris , Tinku , Tobas and Waca Waca . </li></ul><ul><li>The procession culminates in the enactment of two plays, reminiscent of medieval mystery plays . One is about the Spanish conquest. The other revolves around the classical battle between good and evil, with the Archangel Michael ultimately triumphing over the Devil and the Seven Deadly Sins . The enactment of the latter was introduced by Catholic clergy in 1818. </li></ul>
Tarabuco <ul><li>Tarabuco is a Bolivian town, head of the second section of the Yamparáez Province , in the department of Chuquisaca . It is best known as the home of the Yampara culture. It's people host the Pujllay festival in March each year. Pujllay is Quechua meaning of "play," and is the name of a traditional festival held in central andes. The word "play" refers to either the clouds or the blossoms "playing" in the winds of the end of the rainy season and thus harvesting time... The Bolivian Pujllay is also connected to the Christian Carnival and the celebration of a battle won over the spaniards - hence the appropriation of the Spanish helmets and spurs one can still see in the ritual dance... Members of the local indigenous community gather for Mass, parade in their colorful traditional costumes, drink plenty of chicha , and celebrate. </li></ul><ul><li>Each Sunday, a colorful and vibrant open-air market attracts locals and tourists alike. Many people wear traditional Yampara costumes, which not only preserve their identity but also advertise their location of origin within the area to others within the Tarabuco area. </li></ul>
Dances <ul><li>Many dances and songs contain elements from both the native and the European cultures. Caporales seems to be the most popular Bolivian dance of present times - in a few decades it developed into an enormous popular dance, not only in the Highlands, where it comes from, but also in the Lowlands and in the Bolivian communities outside the country. One supposedly dances for The Virgin of Socavon (patroness of miners) and promises to dance for three years of one's life </li></ul>
Public holidays in Bolivia Navidad Christmas Day December 25 Todos Santos All Saints Day November 1 Dia de la Patria Independence Day August 6 Dia del trabajo Labour Day May 1 Corpus Christi floating Good Friday floating Fiesta de la Virgen de Candelaria February 2 Nuevo Año New Year's Day January 1 Remarks Local Name English Name Date
Nuevo A ñ o <ul><li>Money. Weeks before 31 December, merchants sell wads of fake money on the street. At midnight, you're supposed to take out this money (or real money) and count your cash. The more cash you count, the more luck you'll have w/ money that year. </li></ul><ul><li>Underwear. Street venders also start selling large quantities of sexy panties on the streets. It's actually rather interesting/shocking to see conservative cholitas selling red lace thongs on the sidewalk. If you wear red underwear that night, you'll be lucky in love. Yellow brings money. Pink brings good health. </li></ul><ul><li>Grapes. Another tradition is to eat 12 grapes dipped in champagne at midnight. You're supposed to make a special wish for the new year w/ each grape. </li></ul><ul><li>Suitcases. If you plan (or hope) to travel during the year, you're supposed to take a suitcase and either walk around the block w/ it or go up and down a flight of stairs. This ensures that you travel safely (and far) during the year. </li></ul><ul><li>Pacha Mamá. More indigenous traditions involve making an offering to Pacha Mamá (Mother Earth). Specifically, at the Mercado de Hechicería, cholas sell plates specially prepared for burning on small stoves (the fuel is traditionally llama dung) as offerings. The arrangements includes special herbs, fake money, as well as totems for the things you wish for during the coming year (e.g. a frog for money). </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.centellas.org/miguel/archives/000561.html </li></ul>
Good Friday <ul><li>Friday preceding Easter Sunday . It commemorates the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death . </li></ul><ul><li>The Roman Catholic Church treats Good Friday as a fast day . </li></ul><ul><li>In Bolivia thousands of pilgrims journey to Copacabana—some on foot for the entire 158km distance from La Paz—to do penance on Cerro Calvario. At dusk, a solemn candlelit procession begins at the Basilica de Virgen de la Candelaria and winds through town, led by a statue of Christ in a glass coffin and a replica of the Virgen de Candelaria. At the summit of Cerro Calvario, they light incense and buy mini replicas of various material possessions, in hopes of being granted the actual item by the Virgin during the year. A local priest speaks to the crowd through a microphone and a military band plays dirges. </li></ul>
Corpus Christi <ul><li>Corpus Christi ( Latin for Body of Christ ) is a Christian feast . Its purpose is to honour the Eucharist , and as such it does not commemorate a particular event in Jesus ' life. Its celebration on the Thursday following Trinity Sunday is meant to associate it with Jesus' institution of the Eucharist during the Last Supper . Because of the sorrow of Holy Week, no festivals are celebrated within it; the Thursday after Trinity Sunday is the first Thursday after Holy Week, Eastertide have ended. </li></ul><ul><li>Within the Roman Catholic Church , the feast is officially known as the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ . </li></ul>
Dia del Trabajo <ul><li>Labour Day is an annual holiday celebrated all over the world that resulted from efforts of the labour union movement, to celebrate the economic and social achievements of workers . The majority of countries celebrate Labour Day on May 1 , and it is popularly known as May Day and International Workers' Day The celebration of Labour Day has its origins in the eight hour day movement, which advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest. </li></ul>
Dia de la Patria <ul><li>Independence Day: August 6 independence from Spain in 1825. </li></ul><ul><li>It is celebrated with pilgrimages, music throughout the day and night, parades, brass bands, traditional dancing, and drinking. </li></ul>
Todos Santos <ul><li>All Saints Day takes place on the first of November, which is the date on which the spirit of the dead returns to earth to meet with their relatives and taste once again what they enjoyed on earth, food and drinks. On midday of the first of November the gates of heaven are open so that the dead return to earth, where they will remain until midday of the second of November. Families and friends of the deceased usually prepare a table filled with a special bread called "tantawawas", it also has fruits, candies, drinks and the photographs of their dead relatives, so that they are able to come and share for a while these things. All these preparations are made in the home of the families and afterwards they go to the cemetery where their relatives are buried taking with them the different "offerings". In the cemetery you will find children singing and praying for the souls, if you give them some money or some food they will pray or sing for your dead relatives. In some places in the rural areas the bones of dead relatives will be taken out of the ground so that they receive the offerings in a more direct way. </li></ul><ul><li>http://boliviahoy.blogspot.com/2007/10/todos-santos.html </li></ul>
Navidad <ul><li>“ La Cena de Nochebuena” Serve a dish called prod, basically a soup. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Los Regalos y los Propósitos” After the supper all open their Christmas gifts. After opening the gifts, everyone explains its good purposes to contribute to the union and the peace of their home. </li></ul><ul><li>“ La Misa del Gallo y Procesión del Niño en Sucre” The midnight mass and Procession of the baby Jesus in Sucre. On Christmas Eve the families go to the mass at 12 o'clock to celebrate the birth of Jesus, after the mass in some churches there is a procession where they walk along the streets of Sucre. Later, at home everyone dances Christmas carols until dawn, to Jesus. The Christmas carols are interpreted with traditional instruments. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Un dulce desayuno al día siguiente” Basically a sweet breakfast. Have pastries called buñuelos that are something as well as doughnuts soaked in honey, chanbergos, paneton (fruit and almond?) and also sopaipillas (fritters?). And good chocolate. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Misas, Nacimientos y Más Regalos” Each city or town will have a Misa de Navidad , and then afterwards open more gifts. </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.navidadlatina.com/bolivia/welcome.asp </li></ul>
Fiesta de la Virgen de la Candelaria <ul><li>Celebrated in Bolivia, Peru, Uruguay, Chile and Venezuela. February 2-5. </li></ul><ul><li>The celebrations in Peru and Bolivia are centered around Lake Titicaca, in Puno and the small village of Copacabana. In Bolivia , the Virgen is also known as the Dark Virgin of the Lake, and the Patroness Of Bolivia . She is revered for a series of miracles. </li></ul><ul><li>There are parades, colorful costumes, music and a lot of drinking and celebrating. New vehicles are brought in from all over Bolivia to be blessed with beer. People gather for days ahead to pray and to celebrate in a mixture of Catholic and native religions. Bolivian celebrants believe the Virgen prefers to stay inside the Basilica erected in her honor. When taken outside, there is a risk of storm or other calamity. </li></ul><ul><li>Pilgrims and dancers come to Copacabana from Peru and across Bolivia. There are traditional Aymara dances, music, drinking and feasting. On the third day of the fiesta, 100 bulls are gathered in a stone corral along the Yampupata road, and the some of the more brave and/or drunk revelers jump into the arena and try to avoid being attacked. </li></ul>(http://gosouthamerica.about.com/cs/southamerica/a/Candelaria.htm)
<ul><li>The Virgen de la Candelaria in Copacabana is a statue of the Virgin Mary sculpted by an Inca craftsman in 1576. Believed to work miracles, the statue of the "Dark Virgin of the Lake" is the most important pilgrimage destination in Bolivia. </li></ul><ul><li>According to a local legend, in 1576 , some Inca fisherman were caught in a terrible storm on Lake Titicaca . As they prayed for help, the Virgin Mary appeared and led them to safety. In gratitude, they built a shrine containing a statue of the Virgin, which was sculpted by the Inca craftsman Tito Yupanqui the same year. </li></ul>
Carnaval de Oruro 2007 Festival time in Sucre Traditional Bolivian dance Good Friday procession, with Christ in a glass coffin. Photo: Jonathan Lewis . A local priest blesses a car. Photo: Jenny Mealing Chapel of the Virgen de la Candelaria. Photo: Ben Hewitt & Nicole Courneya .
Sources <ul><li>Wikipedia: Bolivia, Culture of Bolivia, Public Holidays in Bolivia, Carnaval de Oruro, Pujllay </li></ul><ul><li>Listed references </li></ul><ul><li>www.freetranslation.com for translations of Spanish websites. </li></ul>
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