Traditional Wititi Dancing in Arequipa

Originating in the Colca Canyon, Wititi dancing is important and unique enough to be included in UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Most visitors to the Colca Canyon see touristic Wititi dancing in town squares or at folkloric evenings but at Arequipa’s Yanahuara Plaza I was lucky enough to watch an informal performance.

Wititi dancing and costume, Plaza de Yanahuara, Arequipa

A woman in Collagua dress dances with a Wititi Continue reading

Carnival in Cochabamba, Bolivia: a Riot of Colour, Movement and Sound

Cochabamba is a city in central Bolivia. Cochabamba is in the Andes but located in a valley so it’s altitude is only 2,500 metres. The city is not on the main tourist trail although it does have a Jesus statue larger than Rio de Janeiro’s. I did not come to Cochabamba for the statue but for the 2016 Carnival festival, as Cochabamba has Bolivia’s second best Carnival, after Oruro’s.

Carnival centred on a parade that went around the city’s centre. Along the route temporary stands were built just for this day, Saturday the 13th of February. I sat in a stand next to a television station’s event broadcast facility. Seats were expensive in Bolivian terms and many locals peered through the stands to glimpse the festivities. It was a hot and sunny day and the parade went for almost 12 hours, making the performers in their often heavy costumes sweat.

The parade featured dancing troupes interspersed by big bands. Some of the groups had practised all year in preparation for the day while others were not so polished. All participants were having fun, despite the heat.

2016 Carnival, Cochabamba, Bolivia

A kid spraying foam at an already drenched victim. Note the swimming goggles to protect his eyes

Spraying foam is only legal in Bolivia during Carnival time and kids (and some adults) had a great time spraying others and deploying water balloons and other weapons. I managed to avoid serious attack.

2016 Carnival, Cochabamba, Bolivia

Outrageous costumes featured in Cochabamba’s Carnival parade Continue reading