Alasitas Festival (Feria de Alasitas) Bolivia, 2024
January 24, 2024
The Alasitas Festival, or Feria de Alasitas, is a major cultural festival in Bolivia that celebrates abundance and the god Ekeko. The month-long activities start on 24 January.
History of the Alasitas Festival Bolivia
The fair is held in La Paz in honour of Ekeko, the god of abundance in the Aymara culture. The origins of the fair date back to the Aymara Chhalasita festival in pre-Colombian times, although it has now acquired some western influences. In the Chhalasita festival people would exchange goods and pray for good crops making miniature offerings to their gods.
It is believed that the Alasitas Festival started around the time the city of La Paz was founded, when a celebration involving both Spanish and Indigenous populations was ordered. The latter would bring small stone idols and miniatures to exchange for stone coins.
In 1781, the festival was moved to 24 January as a celebration for Our Lady of Peace, after whom La Paz is named. This is when the cult of the Ekeko reappeared.
According to Antonio Díaz Villamil, legend has it that during the seize of the city in that year Isidoro Choquehuanca managed to sneak into La Paz to leave food for his beloved Paulita Tintaya, which he left by a small statue of Ekeko. In this way she survived the siege despite widespread famine. Thus the Ekeko cult was started.
Nowadays the festival spreads around the city of La Paz on streets and in parks with small celebrations held in several neighbourhoods. People travel to the capital to purchase miniature versions of goods from across Bolivia. These are then given to friends. The belief is that the recipient of such a miniature will acquire the real object during the subsequent year.
At noon on 24 January there is a blessing of the gifts at La Paz Cathedral by the Catholic Church.
In 2011 the Alasitas Festival was nominated to UNESCO for World Heritage recognition as a cultural and intangible heritage of humanity.
Ekeko is the Tiwanakan god of abundance and prosperity, celebrated in Bolivia and Peru. A festival is held in its honour on 3 May in Puno, Peru.
The Ekeko is depicted as a moustachioed man in traditional Andean clothes loaded with bags and baskets. He is normally represented as a little statue put in a place of honour at home, and is believed to bring prosperity to worshippers, although an offering is required first.
When is the Alasitas Festival Bolivia?
24 January, 2024.
Where is the Feria de Alasitas 2024?
La Paz, Bolivia.
Things To Do in Bolivia
Bolivia is an amazing country with a really rich culture. Explore the salt mines of Uyuni or spend time at Lake Titicaca from where you can travel overland to Cusco in Peru to visit Machu Picchu. Travelling through Bolivia is an incredible experience. For more insipration on what to do in Bolivia, click here.
Accommodation During the Festival
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