Fiesta of San Roque

San Roque, Fiesta of

Week beginning the first Sunday in September
San Roque is the patron saint of Tarija, Bolivia, whose natives, known as chapacos, are a mixture of Spaniards and Tomata Indians.
The townspeople wear their best and most colorful clothes—and decorate their dogs—for the fiesta in San Roque's honor that begins on the first Sunday in September. There are processions of the saint's image, which has also been brightly adorned, throughout the week which go through the streets, stopping at the hospital and area churches. Participants in the processions include dancers, singers, musicians, and people who've made personal vows.
The celebration of San Roque is said to go back to colonial times, when a plague devastated the city. After the Spanish colonists prayed to San Roque, the disease reportedly subsided, thus the people began an annual fiesta in thanksgiving.
CONTACTS:
Embassy of Bolivia
3014 Massachusetts Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
202-483-4410; fax: 202-328-3712
www.bolivia-usa.org
SOURCES:
FiestaTime-1965, p. 140