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Feb 07 2014

Bolivian Festivities in Tarabuco: Pujllay

While I was staying in Sucre, a couple of other female travellers had heard about a Sunday market and asked if I was interested in going.  I was, so we headed off to Tarabuco by bus.  It’s about an hour from Sucre and is home to the Yampara people.  There’s a large open-air market there every Sunday, which is popular with locals and tourists alike.

When we arrived, there seemed to be some sort of festival in full swing.  There was music, dancing, and a big procession with local people dressed in vibrant colours, as you can see from the photograph below.  It’s this festival that is the focus of this week’s Foto Friday.  

The woman in the photograph was taking part in the procession and was wearing the brightly coloured traditional dress.  There were many other photographs I could have chosen from this event, but this particular one stood out.  I think it’s because she’s in the middle of the procession and looks so focused.  The women wear flat hats, like the one in the photograph, but the men wear helmets and spurs on their feet.  For a more detailled description on their attire, take a look at this website.

The festival is called Pujllay and it’s a celebration of Bolivia’s victory over the Spanish, which led to the country’s independence.  It’s also dedicated to the people who have died and to express their gratitude to Pachamama (Mother Earth) who is very important to Bolivians.

Apparently, each community used to have their own celebrations but, in the 1970s, the communities merged their celebrations into one and Tarabuco was chosen as the town to host the festival.  It’s an important date in Bolivia’s calendar and that is evidenced by the fact that the country’s president attends.

We stumbled upon this by sheer luck as we happened to be in Tarabuco on the right day at the right time.  If you’re interested in experiencing an important cultural event like this and happen to be in Sucre in March, this year’s festival should be on 16 March 2014, if I have calculated it correctly!

As a little extra treat, you can take a look at this short video clip to get a better idea of what to expect at the festival.


The map shows you Tarabuco’s proximity to Sucre.

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Have your say

Have you been to this festival or are you thinking of going?  Let me know by commenting below.

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