In the mood to celebrate this January? You’re in luck: one of the most exciting Bolivia festivals, Las Alasitas in La Paz, Bolivia, is well underway.
The festival, held each January as a way to make wishes for the upcoming year, is a colorful and joyful experience that fills the stress of La Paz. A month-long street fair sells miniatures that represent dreams and goals for the new year, and locals flock to La Paz to stock up on the minis that mean the most to them. On the most important day of the festival, January 24th at 12pm, celebrations hit their peak.
In Honor Of Ekeko
The festival is meant to honor Ekeko, an Aymara god who represents success and abundance. Before stocking up on their miniatures, locals buy a small Ekeko statue that will sit in their homes throughout the year. Then, they purchase their miniatures, which are then blessed and offered to Ekeko.
Ekeko is also provided with cigarettes, alcohol, and other gifts. In exchange, Ekeko looks out for locals’ families throughout the year.
Historically, the festival was celebrated in September, as farmers prayed to Ekeko for a bountiful harvest. However, the festival was later moved to January to honor the 1781 La Paz revolution. While the ritual has changed slightly over the years, the basics remain the same. But now, locals pray for a wider variety of gifts than solely a big farm harvest.
Today, the Catholic church takes part in the festivities (as it currently does with many Bolivia celebrations) by blessing the miniature gifts on January 24th. In addition to miniatures, you can also buy local artisan crafts and enjoy fantastic street food as you stroll past the festival stalls.
Join In On The Adventure
International visitors love to join in on the fun by purchasing miniatures that represent their own dreams. You can buy tiny currency to represent a desire for wealth, tiny wedding dresses if you dream of a marriage, and or a tiny vehicle if you’d like a new car. There’s a miniature to represent just about anything you can imagine, so no matter what you’re dreaming of, there’s a way to make it happen.
People flock to the city for this event, so be sure to book tickets in advance!