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Bolivia’s Carnival of Oruro: Cultural Heritage of Humanity

The 10-day celebration honors the country´s indigenous history and Christian symbols in a beautiful display of cultural syncretism.
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The Carnival of Oruro is one of the world’s most important celebrations. It gathers thousands in a display of cultural syncretism between Andean and colonial tradition.
The Carnival of Oruro is one of the world’s most important celebrations. It gathers thousands in a display of cultural syncretism between Andean and colonial tradition. Photo:EFE
This year the celebration will last for ten days (Feb 3 - 13). The 10th, 11th, and 12th are the most important days.
This year the celebration will last for ten days (Feb 3 - 13). The 10th, 11th, and 12th are the most important days. Photo:EFE
It is considered something magical because the costumes, music, hymns, and dance aim to hypnotize its audience.
It is considered something magical because the costumes, music, hymns, and dance aim to hypnotize its audience. Photo:Reuters
The Diablada is a traditional Bolivian dance that gets its name from the masks and costumes used by the dancer. The dance shows devotion to the Virgen del Socavon (Sinkhole Virgin) and honors the cult to the Uncle of the mine.
The Diablada is a traditional Bolivian dance that gets its name from the masks and costumes used by the dancer. The dance shows devotion to the Virgen del Socavon (Sinkhole Virgin) and honors the cult to the Uncle of the mine. Photo:EFE
Bolivians play indigenous instruments like the Tokoro. The celebration is an expression of liberty and decolonization.
Bolivians play indigenous instruments like the Tokoro. The celebration is an expression of liberty and decolonization. Photo:Reuters
The tradition is kept alive through generations being handed from one to the next. Campesinos and indigenous people participate every year.
The tradition is kept alive through generations being handed from one to the next. Campesinos and indigenous people participate every year. Photo:EFE
Another popular dance is the Morenaza, which originated in the shores of Lake Titicaca and referenced the suffering of indigenous peoples during the colonial period.
Another popular dance is the Morenaza, which originated in the shores of Lake Titicaca and referenced the suffering of indigenous peoples during the colonial period. Photo:EFE
For all its cultural value, in 2001 UNESCO proclaimed the Carnival of Oruro as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
For all its cultural value, in 2001 UNESCO proclaimed the Carnival of Oruro as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Photo:Reuters
Published 9 February 2018
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