Pujillay Festival 2016 in Tarabuco, Bolivia

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.

Pujllay Festival, Tarabuco, Bolivia

The 2016 Pujllay Festival parade in Tarabuco’s main square (the multicoloured flag is Bolivia’s second national flag and represents Bolivia’s indigenous) 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