I was lucky enough to be in Sucre for the third weekend of March. On this weekend, Tarabuco hosts the Pujllay Festival commemorating the defeat of the Spanish in the 12 March, 2016 Battle of Cumbate. Tarabuco is a town located 65 kilometres from Sucre, making a very pleasant day trip.
On Sunday the 20th of March I caught a bus from Sucre’s Plaza 25 de Maya to Tarabuco for the 2016 Pujllay Festival. In Tarabuco groups of locals, many wearing outrageous costumes, paraded from the town centre to an open field for further celebrations.
The 2016 Pujllay Festival parade in Tarabuco’s main square (the multicoloured flag is Bolivia’s second national flag and represents Bolivia’s indigenous)
Many festival participants wore wooden shoes with metallic plates that clanged together and acted as percussion instruments
The open field contained a wooden tower covered in offerings to Pachamama including two sides of beef, bread, coca leaves, fruit and vegetables, soft drink, alcohol, mustard, tomato sauce, margarine, olives and other food items. People sang, played music and danced around the tower until the end of the festival when the offerings were to be shared amongst those in attendance (I had left by then).
The tower of offerings to Pachamama
The men performing in traditional dress contrast substantially to the toy balloons for sale behind them
A Pujllay Festival participant blowing through a woodwind instrument
A man wearing bright pink stares intently
A woman singing and dancing during Tarabuco’s Pujllay Festival
This man blowing a horn is almost disguised by his hat and clothes
Pujllay Festival participants singing, dancing and playing music
A man blowing throwing a flexible pipe connected to a wooden log
Besides the Pujllay Festival, Tarabuco is also famous for its Sunday open air market when people come from all over the region to sell their wares. On this day the market did not impress me although I suspect that was because everybody attended the festival instead.
Fabric and yarn for sale in Tarabuco
Returning from the centre to to bus I visited Tarabuco’s cemetery. Every grave was decorated, largely with dark blue ribbons. I’m unsure if this was for the occasions of Pujllay, Carnival or for a separate reason.
Tarabuco Cemetery graves decorated with ribbons
Electricity lines throughout Bolivia, from the highlands to the lowlands, have a plant growing on them. Tarabuco is no exception and here I could take a decent photo of the plant.
The plant that grows on Bolivia’s power lines
Several of Tarabuco town’s doorways have shapes of the sun and fish carved in them. I expect these shapes are culturally significant.
The sun, a fish and a third shape carved on a Tarabuco door
The women in Tarabuco speak and sing with high pitched voices. The following video I recorded on the day contains footage of such singing along with other festivities.
Tarabuco’s Pujllay Festival is a wonderful day trip from Sucre and if you are in the area around the third Sunday of March I highly recommend visiting.