Todos Santos en Bolivia

11 Dec, 2019 | Lauren Minion

Culture, Festivals and Food

Wooden ladders are available throughout the La Paz cemetery so that family members can access the rest places of their family members and keep their shrines up to date. 

Photos: Lauren Minion & George Fearnley

Amongst the many Bolivian sacred celebrations is Todos Santos, which lies on the first and second of November every year. Despite adopting its name back in colonial times from the Spanish equivalent, the Bolivian festival maintains many of its original Andean rituals and traditions. According to Andean beliefs, death is not an end to life, but more a transition to eternal existence. 

During this event, Bolivian families return to the rest places of their beloved family members and prepare exquisite food and offerings, all of which carry much significance. With this in mind, BX decided to show the vibrancy of the event through a series of photographs to demonstrate the thought and care that goes into this unique and sacred event. 

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People celebrating Todos Santos, their bags filled with offerings of bread, flowers, and other delicacies.

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People walk by sites containing ashes of the deceased. Momentos and flowers are placed behind the glass doors to pay homage to loved ones.

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Tantawawas are sold at many market stands and supermarkets in the lead up to Todos Santos, they are to symbolise family members that have passed away.

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Elsa Condori, 52, and Jaqueline Condori, 17, produce hard boiled sweets in the shapes of ladders and baskets to symbolise the gateway between those who have passed away and their living relatives, and the goods that both parties carry. Elsa’s grandmother used to work in La Estrella a former famous sweet factory in El Alto.

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Faces for tantawawas can also be bought at many markets all over Bolivia, for when family members would like to bake the bread themselves.


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