Bolivia Carnival of Oruro

Carnival of Oruro, Bolivia

Between February and March; week preceding Ash Wednesday
The Carnival celebrations in Oruro, Bolivia, continue for an entire week and include music, dancing, eating and drinking, and offerings to Pachamama, or Mother Earth. But the highlight is the parade that begins with a series of vehicles carrying items made from gold and silver, jewels, exquisitely embroidered cloth, and antique coins and bills. Next are the Diablos, costumed with horns made from plaster, colored lightbulbs in place of eyes, teeth made from shards of mirrors, and hair fashioned out of tail hairs taken from horses or oxen. They are led by Lucifer and two Satans and accompanied by five cavorting female devils. Then come the Incas, who portray famous people from the time of the Spanish conquest, and the Tobas, who perform war dances. The llama drivers, or llameros, are next, followed by the Callahuallas, or witch doctors, and a number of other companies, each with its own distinctive costumes and role in the procession. The parade ends with the entry of all the masked groups into the church for a mass in honor of the Virgen del Socavón.
CONTACTS:
Bolivian Embassy
3014 Massachusetts Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
202-483-4410; fax: 202-328-3712
www.bolivia-usa.org
SOURCES:
EncyRel-1987, vol. 1, p. 476
FolkWrldHol-1999, p. 134