WHAT TO SEE & DO
Lake Titicaca: Procession for the Virgin de La Candelaria
As legend has it, the Blessed Virgin appeared to lost sailors on the shores of Titicaca and guided them to safety. In thanks, the sailors erected a shrine to the Virgin. Every August in Copacabana, a huge festival featuring wild dancing, colourful costumes, native dances and local music bring large crowds to the reason. Many make pilgrimages in order to have their vehicles blessed in a special “cha’lla” (ritual blessing) ceremony, as the Virgin de La Candelaria is said to provide blessings of safe passage. In Blue Box, Carmen asks for the Virgin’s help in starting her car.
Carnaval de Oruro
A UNESCO World Heritage Event, the Oruro Carnaval is steeped in Andean indigenous and Catholic folklore. For a week each year, it draws thousands of people to the old mining town of Oruro for a celebration involving music, mask, dance and wild costumes. Opening every Carnaval is the diablada, or ‘devil-dance’, a ritual dating back several centuries.
La Paz: the Witches’ Market
Stocked full of ingredients rooted in Aymara and Quechua religious practice, the Witches Market today offers a range of items from more standard tourist fare (sweaters, hammocks) to more unusual items, such as the market’s specialty: llama fetuses.