Issue - May 2007

May 2007

In this Issue, an interview with Ana Cecilia Moreno, how she wanted to break the image of elite dance. Caroline Amouyal met with Anysongo.

Read about the history of Los Tiempos our local newspaper in Cochabamba. Andean Traditions, always present in our more...

May 2007

Andean traditions

By Cintya Castro
Student of Linguistics Department
San Simón University

Bolivia is a multiethnic and multi-cultural country that has been investigated by a lot of national and international researchers who are very impressed by the Aymara and Tiwanacota cultures that made us Bolivians. They should make us feel proud to protect and preserve these cultures because all their traditions show us that work is the first obligation and people are the biggest source of energy. No matter how much Spaniards pushed to change the Andean habits during colonization, they still maintained many rites and habits that look for equilibrium and reciprocity between humans and nature.

One of the most practised rites until now is the Q’OWA. It represents the “pachamama” or mother earth; this was a goddess for the people who lived here before the colonization period, and for them her divinity represents life: “she is reason for the beginning, like a union between good and bad, the feminine and masculine, life and death”.

The Q’owa is a ritual that is practiced by people every first Friday and the Tuesday of Carnaval. It is done to attract good luck, during the “ch’allakus” (ritual that people make when they buy something really important to them, it could be a car, a house, or others).

The people who prepare the ritual to sell put, in a piece of paper, many small pieces of llama’s wool of different colours, candies called “confites”, small plaster planks with different designs of: butterfly, toad, lizard, ants, sowings, horse etc as well as incense, copal, mirra, dry flowers, coca leaves, romero, and a mixture of other ingredients (but just with even numbers like six, twelve etc).

The people who buy this preparation put all of this in a small mud bowl over a small grill that has charcoal burning. It is then offered to the spirits. The person who takes this bowl has to “ch’allar” (scatter with chicha, a typical Bolivian drink), then he has to wait until the preparation finishes burning. In Cochabamba there are some places where you can see this interesting ritual and share Bolivian culture and traditions with all kinds of people, while having fun at the same time.

It is a space of fusion between art and sport, as shown by its name: Ar stands for arte and de stands for deporte. We created it in collaboration with gymnasts, because we all needed a place to practice our different activities. We are all very proud of this place, because we built it up almost all by ourselves (we even installed the light and the electricity alone!)...
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