RELEASE DATE: 01 Jul, 2011


Popular with tourists and unique among neighboring countries: there’s no doubt that Bolivia is home to a myriad of cultures and communities. From the centre of the Saya in Los Yungas to the bastion of a more Western lifestyle in Santa Cruz, Bolivia’s vibrancy cannot be contained. It would be disingenuous to say that all the different parts of this society always function harmoniously, but the fact that they remain in flux is undoubtedly one of the things that makes this country so special.

The June issue of Bolivian Express skims the surface of this multicultural sea of sorts, not in attempt to provide any- thing close to a full account of all the different Bolivian ethnic and religious groups (as if such an account could ever be complete), but rather to offer the reader a taste of some of their festivals, rituals and practices. Recent celebrations such as El Gran Poder are examined, as well as yearlong ceremonies such as the Ch’allas of El Alto and Potosí. While inevitably some observances will be left out, these pages reveal the hidden sides of those that are explored.

With histories that often stretch hundreds of years into the past, and current practices that retain their urgency for those who participate in them, these traditions are windows into distinctly Bolivian lives.



19 Jul, 2011 | Nina Triado

It took me a while to find the location, but after asking many people I made my way up to El Alto where I was told I could find a ch’alla. However, not knowing exactly what I was looking for, or what...

Aymara New Year

19 Jul, 2011 | Seneca Garrison

June 21st marked the 5,519th annual celebration of Aymara New Year, and an estimated 50,000 participants migrated to the Tiwanaku ruins for a freezing all-nighter of fun and timeless tradition. People...

Living the death road - Part 2

19 Jul, 2011 | Ivan Rodriguez P.

The rough earth track is beginning to make itself felt, and the Gravity As­sisted Mountain Biking team makes a stop to instruct us on how to proceed from here. The road from La Cumbre had been tarmac,...

Preste mayor

19 Jul, 2011 | Lorange Dao

The hidden side of the Gran Poder

Gran Poder

20 Jul, 2011 | Georgia Wolff

In La Paz the fiesta never stops: paceños never miss an opportuni­ty for a celebration and they know how to party hard. Rarely a day goes by when one of the city’s streets isn’t closed to host a festi...