EDITORIAL BY William Wroblewski
June 21 marks the Aymara New Year here in Bolivia. Coinciding with the Winter Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere, it is an important holiday for many of the indigenous groups in the region, a time where agriculturalists carry out rituals to appease two gods, Pachamama and Inti, in hopes of a successful harvest. A large celebration is carried out at Tiwanaku, a pre-Incan capital on lake Titicaca, as well as in communities across Bolivia.
Official government recognition of this holiday first came in 2009, following a supreme decree by President Evo Morales recognizing this day as a national holiday. This was an important event in Bolivian history, serving as a milemarker on the road to indigenous recognition, helping to bring ancient traditions back to the center of life here.
The reemergence of traditions and practices from before conquest has changed the face of Bolivia in seemingly countless ways. Perhaps most importantly, it has helped bolster a sense of indigenous pride, as young people are finding ways to reconnect with their ancestors. Today, many Bolivians are experiencing the ways in which past notions of the sacred intersect with currently prevailing Catholic belief systems and practices. That exchange can be both exciting and challenging to experience.
Bolivia has always been a place of sacred spaces. From Tiwanaku and Lake Titicaca to the many churches and cathedrals dotting the landscapes of communities here, one often wonders how so many varied traditions can be found in one place. Perhaps it is this mix of beliefs and practices that brings so many travelers here to explore their spirituality in their own unique ways.
Every individual provides her or his own piece to the kaleidoscope of spiritual life. As we celebrate a new Aymara year, take in the shapes and colors of this wondrous mix dancing together in Bolivia. Join us as we navigate the ways in which beliefs and traditions guide social and political life here, and uncover many spiritual wonders that inhabit this amazing place.
ARTICLES FROM THIS ISSUE
Faith and Football
29 Jun, 2015 | Rodrigo Barrenechea Gallardo
FRANCIS IS ARRIVINGPope Francis, in his last youth conferences in Rio de Janeiro in 2013, presented a motivational and enlightening message for the thousands of devoted young Catholics who had the opp...
Taking a Trip
29 Jun, 2015 | Kinjo Kiema
Ayahuasca and Spiritual Tourism Flourish in BoliviaTripAdvisor ranks an Ayahuasca ceremony as one of the top ten things to do in La Paz. So it’s not surprising to learn that many people come to Bolivi...
The Pope and the Popular Movement
29 Jun, 2015 | William Wroblewski
“I am not very Catholic,” says Simeón Jaliri, secretary general of the Bolivian Workers Central (COB by it’s Spanish acronym), the largest labor federation in Bolivia. “We go to church, but it’s more...
Potential for Progress
29 Jun, 2015 | Kinjo Kiema
Bolivian Politics and LGBTQ Equality“Many people keep it in secrecy...the couples that want a job, to maintain their economic status, opt to hide their relationships.” - Julia, Mujeres Creando“Here in...
29 Jun, 2015 | Laura Chitty
Nuclear Power and the PachamamaThe Bolivian government turned heads around the world in 2010 when it introduced a controversial and ground-breaking regulation called the ‘Law of Mother Earth’. It was...
Constellating the Unconscious
29 Jun, 2015 | Valeria Wilde
You walk into a room and see a group of people in a circle watching a young lady in the middle moving her right foot back and forth, crying desperately. Next to her is an elderly woman dancing with a...