Below is a list of some upcoming festivals and events in Bolivia during the months of May and June. So….if heading to South America, be sure to add them to your list.
- 3 Island of Suriqui – Fiesta de la Cruz. Festival takes place on the Island of the Suriqui in Lake Titicaca. Handcrafts are sold and there is folkloric music and dancing to celebrate the cross of the Calvary.
- Fiesta del Gran Poder. The devout dance in large groups to the Señor del Gran Poder. One of the largest festivals in the country in honor of Jesus Christ. Dance troupes compete to see who dances the best.
- 16 Italaque. Virgen del Carmen. In honor of the virgin folkloric dances and Catholic mass.
- 21 Inti Raymi. Tiwanaku. One of the more interesting cultural ceremonies to welcome the arrival of the Aymara New Year (Winter Equinox). Inti Raymi means “sun festival”. This is one of the most spectacular festivals in the country. Inti is the sun god.
- 29 San Pedro y San Pablo. Tiquina – Achacachi, both towns in La Paz to commemorate Saint Peter and Saint Paul.
- 3 Fiesta de la Cruz. In the city of Santa Cruz and in Vallegrande, parishioners go to the cemeteries to participate in a community “wake” in honor of the cross on which Christ was crucified.
- 3 Santa Vera Cruz Tatala. Festival to commemorate the beginning of the agricultural season in the valleys of Cochabamba. Dancers dance a fertility dance. About 5 miles from the city there is a large folkloric dance at one of the churches. Couples go to ask God for fertility as well.
- 3 Canasmoro, San Andrés and Bella Vista. Fiesta de la Cruz. As in Santa Cruz and Vallegrande, there are processions, and traditional foods are sold in the streets of this, the Festival of the Cross.
- San Antonio. St. Anthony. Celebrants go to mass and dance troupes compete in the streets.
- 3 Fiesta de la Cruz. Here festivities are more indigenous than Christian. Dancers dance the famous “tinku” dance through the streets.
- 8 San Juan de Dios. Takes place in Manquiri and is an event that commemorates St. John.
- 25 Ephemeredes of Chuquisaca. Anniversary of the Department of Chuquisaca. A fair is held to promote Bolivian culture and tourism. Tour operators, travel agencies, hotels, and others participate to promote tourism. There is dancing and handcrafts are sold. Celebrates General Sucre’s cry for independence from the Spanish in 1809.
In honor of John the Baptist, on the longest and coldest night of the year bonfires are lit throughout the country, even in busy cities (although La Paz sometimes outlaws it because the smoke lingers in the canyon for days). There is much drinking and eating throughout the night as people gather around the fire to talk, play games, and sing. In the highlands they light fires to keep the evil spirits away on the coldest day of the year. If you ever participate in San Juan and someone in your group has a guitar, be prepared to hear “Hotel California” over and over again until you hate it. Famous for it’s Firewalkers on San Juan night is the little town of Porongo.
- San Antonio. Celebrants go to mass, then participate in a procession and dancing through the streets.
- 24 San Juan. Here people run through the bonfires or spread coals and walk through the hot embers.
- 1st week of June. Dates vary. Holy Trinity, Santísima Trinidad. Trinidad is the capital city of the department of Beni. In celebration of their city, folkloric dance groups dance in the streets and there is also bullfighting. The most important festival of the year in Beni.
Photo: Jomadanet credit. It is of the Fiesta del Gran Poder.