Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tarabuco festival: Pujllay

Tarabuco is known for its Sunday indigenous market. Since we really liked the markets in Ecuador, we decided to push onto Sucre from Uyuni, even though it means backtracking to Potosi. A closer look showed that this Sunday was to be the annual Pujllay festival. We had to think for a second. Festival means probably no large animal market. While we did not expect this one to be a drunken party, we were not sure whether it would feel authentic.

Considering the crowd situation of a festival, we took the easy route via a tourist bus. There was much security on the road. When we arrived in town, we found out that the President and Vice President of Bolivia were going to be there. A viewing stand was set up in the town square -- clues of a parade. Many of the indigenous people were dressed in traditional costumes, men and women. There were several distinct styles of headgear, ponchos, and skirts, indicative of different groups.

After some browsing various souvenir stalls and sampling tasty street food, the parade started. Some of the costumes were very impressive. The most unusual were the ones with special footwear with cymbals. After the parade, we continued to wander through town, not bothering to follow the parade to the grandstand. Much later we remembered that we were missing the main symbol of the celebration, the Pukara (altar with offerings to Pachamama, Mother Earth). We started to make our way to it. The VIPs were leaving just as we arrived. More dancing ensued around the Pukara and all over, with gusto.

As magnificent as Pujllay was, it took me a while to warm to it. The presence of the politicians was a turnoff for me. Parading in front of the grandstand made it seem like a pageantry. But in the end I was convinced at heart it was a true festival.

Here are some shots from the festival in Tarabuco.

Locals in their traditional festive clothes. Check out the head gear.
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A hard boiled egg, "wrapped" in mashed potatoes, coated with egg then deep fried and served with a spicy onion salsa. Yummy!
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Heel cymbals!
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Various shots of the local groups in the parade. All groups consisted of marchers/dancers plus muscians.
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The Pukara surrounded by dancers and musicians.
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And a few more shots.

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2 comments:

Cathy said...

Sun Ling needs to make us the boiled egg incredible edible:)

Sun-Ling said...

That's the plan! There was also a spicy cheese filling that I liked a lot. I may finally succumb to a deep fryer after all these years of success in resisting one.