Alasita Festival in La Paz
I got back early from Lake Titicaca and had a day and a half free in La Paz (I’m heading further south on a bus tonight). I had another good wander around the Witch’s Market, here are a few photos:
I was fortunate enough to time my visit back in La Paz for the start of the annual Alasita Festival. This festival is centuries old, however it’s changed a little through the times! (I’m paraphrasing here…) Originally the indigenous people used Alasita to celebrate the bounty of the earth, and farmers would bring their produce and sell them at the festival market. When the Spanish arrived they, as a way to weaken the Indian culture and traditions and stimulate trade in their own goods, did their best to do away with the original Alasita festival, banning some things and changing other elements to the festival.
Alasita today is all centred around this little guy with the 1920’s moustache and cigarette in his mouth: Ekeko. There’s one of these creepy dolls in almost every building I went into. The Bolivians believe that Ekeko is able to make all their wants and dreams come true. So, every Alasita, they go and buy miniatures of the all the material things they’d like in the coming year. The Alasita festival is full of stalls selling absolutely everything in miniature: tins of food, cans of drink, sacks of grain, wads of money, work tools, kitchen stoves, electrical goods, cars and trucks and even houses. All these miniatures are then adorned on Ekeko and remain there for the year. It’s kinda cute seeing him loaded up with everything!
It was great to walk around the festival (which sprawled across city blocks and through parks) and soak up a very traditional and particularly unique local Bolivian tradition.