Tourism in Bolivia
ORURO CARNIVAL
Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity
MINISTERIO DE CULTURAS
Calle Ayacucho y Potosí
(Palacio Chico)
Tel. 591.2.2200946 – 2200910
The highest cultural expression of Bolivian folklore, the Oruro Carnival, “MASTERPIECE OF THE ORAL AND INTANGIBLE HERITAGE OF HUMANITY”, is a religious festival in devotion to Our Lady of the Mine Shaft (Virgen del Socavón), to whom tribute is given through music and dance.

This manifestation of folklore has its origins in ancient Uru Culture and is characterized by its color, craft in costumes design and expressions that converge from various cultures; rituals and traditions from those who participate in this festivity, accompanied by the rhythms of bands that delight the attendant public. This folkloric expression is prepared further in advance and with a great number of ceremonies and rituals throughout the year.

The most important presentation is the Saturday pilgrimage, when dancers pass through the city streets ending up in the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Candlelight, where they receive the blessing of the Parrish and then kneel before the image of the virgin.
  • REPRESENTATIVE DANCES  
    • La Diablada, the emblematic dance of the Oruro Carnival, which has its origins, according to the legend, in ancient times with the discovery of the miraculous Lady of Candlelight (Virgen de la Candelaria), in the hideout of the famous thief Nina Nina. This dance is the representation of the struggle between good and evil.

      La Morenada, its origins can be traced to the black slaves in colonial times. On one hand, it is an Aymara satire of this reality and the methods, used by the Spanish conquerors during the daily work in the mines and wine-making, against the slaves. On the other hand, it is a melancholy expression of suffering for the cruel treatment that they received.

      Los Caporales, a dance of recent creation, is both a representation and satire of the black slave who use to work as a foreman to repress his own people and control the daily work.

      Tinku or encounter, the essence of this dance lies in the bloody combat between Laimes and Jukumanis, communities that fought through the years using brass knuckles and slingshots, while wearing pure leather helmets that resemble Spanish Helmets of the conquistadors.

      Pujllay, represents the blooming of the fields, a festivity that begins on the ceremony of fertility and is characterized by its epic music and dance of warrior tradition in the town of Tarabuco.

      The regal Oruro Carnival parade, reaches the summit of our culture diversity, with the presence of dances such as: Ahuataris, Suri Sicuris, Incas, Kallawayas, Doctorcitos, Tarqueada, Kantus, Potolos, Tobas, amidst many others that make this festivity an exceptional demonstration of culture and folklore.
  • MYTHOLOGY  
    • The Ants. The legend marks the sand dunes as a product that stems from the enchantment of thousands of ants, which, along with The Frog and The Snake, formed part of a destructive legion, sent to exterminate the Urus; the celestial power of a Ñusta defeated this plague by turning it into sand.

      The Snake. It is said that Huari also sent an enormous serpent to bring and end to the Urus and, thanks to the magical power of the Ñusta, it was petrified, becoming a snake-like rock formation that is visible from the southern region of Oruro City.

      The Frog. An enormous rock in shape of a frog is also a part of the Uru legend. The Ñusta, protector of the people, flung her slingshot landing a rock square in the monster´s mouth. This turned it into another stone monolith to adorn the region. It is located in the northern region of Oruro City.

      The Lizard. Huari sent forth a great lizard from Japo and Morococala, it came whipping the hills with its enormous tail. The protective Ñusta went out to meet the giant lizard and decapitated it with her sword, turning it into stone. It is located in the town of Cala Cala, in the eastern region of Oruro City.
PHOTO GALLERY - ORURO CARNIVAL
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