Festivals and events

Note that dates may change slightly from year to year.

January

Año Nuevo
 on 1 January is when rural communities on the Altiplano, in Cochabamba and in the Chiquitano area of Santa Cruz hold a celebration to thank the outgoing civil authorities and welcome the incoming officials.
 Reyes Magos
, 6 January, is a celebration of the arrival of the Three Kings in various provinces of the Beni, also in Oruro, Sucre and Tarija. In the rural communities of Cochabamba and Potosí there are traditional ceremonies for changing authorities.
 Alasitas
 Festival of
Ekeko
(God of Plenty), starts on 24 January and is celebrated over 2 weeks in La Paz.

February-March

Virgen de la Candelaria
, 2 Februayr, an important festival, celebrated in Copacabana, Samaipata, Aiquile and Colomi in Cochabamba, Tarija and Challapampa near Oruro.
 Many of the towns and rural communities have their carnival during February- March, though there are no fixed dates. The most famous is at Oruro, though there are worthwhile celebrations in Sucre, Tarija and Santa Cruz and the outlying villages.

March-April

Easter is celebrated nationally but varies according to location. In the Jesuit missions near Santa Cruz festivities are solemn, while in Tarija they are more enthusiastic.
 San Juan de Dios
 in Tarija on 8 March; also around this time is the celebration of the grape harvest. The second Sunday in March is
Phujllay
 in Tarabuco near Sucre. One of the most colourful and traditional fiestas in Bolivia.
 San José
The patron saint of carpenters is honoured in Cochabamba and Potosí on 19 March.

April

Every second April
is the Festival de Música Renacentista y Barroca Americana
. An important international event with 10 days of religious music concerts in towns throughout Chuiquitanía as well as in the city of Santa Cruz.
 Wild anniversary celebrations in Tarija on the 15-16 April.

May

Fiesta de la Cruz
, 3 May. Celebrated throughout the country. In the Andean rural communities they are more pre-Columbian than Christian. In Potosí the ritual Tinkus are carried out.

June

Santísima Trinidad
 is the most important festival in Beni; there's no fixed date but it's usually around the start of the month. Similarly
Corpus Cristi
in Potosí, Sucre and Copacabana.
Gran Poder
is La Paz's biggest party, held also at the end of May or the beginning of June. San Antonio de Padua, 13 June,
celebrated in small towns in the departments of La Paz, Santa Cruz, Cochabamba and Tarija. Willkakuti
, 21 June, the winter solstice and Aymara New Year celebrated in Tiahunaco. San Juan
, 24 June, celebrations take place in rural provinces throughout Bolivia and in Tarija and Santa Cruz. Also at this time is the traditional burning of woods and fields. San Pedro and San Pablo
,29 June, where fiestas are held throughout the country.

July


Pentecost, first Sunday in July, in the Cochabamba countryside offerings are made to Pachamama.
 Virgen del Carmen
, 16 July, in La Paz, Oruro, Cochabamba, the Yungas and Sucre. Apostle Santiago, 25 July, held throughout the Andes and in Tarija, which has Santiago as its patron saint.
 San Ignacio de Moxos
, 31 July, is one of the most important and colourful festivals in Beni.

August

La Virgen de las Nieves
 in Italque and Copacabana on 5 August.
 San Salvador
, 6 August, in Oruro.
 San Lorenzo, 10 Aug,
 In Tarija and Santa Cruz.
 Virgen de Urkupiña
 on 15 August is the greatest religious celebration in Cochabamba department is held in Quillacollo. Hundreds of other festivals are held across the country on the same day, for example in Tarija, La Paz, Sucre and Oruro. Chutillos
, 24 August, also known as the festival of
San Bartolomé
, in Potosí.
 San Agustín
 an 8-day festival in Toledo, 40 km from Oruro, starting on 28 August.

September

San Roque
: a major 8-day party in Tarija.Virgen de Guadalupe, 8 September,
 in Santa Cruz and Sucre. Also
Fiesta of Viacha
near La Paz.
 Lord of the Exaltation, 14 September,
 celebrated in Potosí, Cochabamba and over 15 days in Oruro. There is also a festival in Sorata. Spring Equinox
, 21 September, celebrated at Tiahuanaco.
 San Miguel
, 29 September, held in Potosí and featuring Tinkus.

October

On the first Sunday in October is Virgen de Guadalupe
: held in Entre Ríos in Tarija. On the 2nd Sun it is held in the city of Tarija. Virgen de La Merced
and
Virgen del Rosario
 a sacred procession in Potosí on 1-2 October. Virgen del Rosario
, 7 October, held in Oruro (where it is known as
Huayllas
), Warnes in Santa Cruz, Sucre and Cochabamba. Also in Cochabamba is the
Luzmilla Patiño Folklore Festival
, held every 2 years. San Rafael
, 24 October, a popular 4-day festival in Santa Fe, near Oruro.

November

Todos Santos
and
Difuntos
All Saints' and Day of the Dead (1-2 November), celebrated in cemeteries throughout the Andean world; particularly interesting in Potosí. First Sunday in November is Primer Convite
, the first training parade for the Oruro carnival 3 months later.
 Anniversary of the foundation of Beni Department
, 18 November, Festivities in Trinidad. San Andrés, 30 November, celebrations in Santa Cruz and Taquiri in Cochabamba.

December

San Francisco Javier, 3 December,
 celebrated in the various Jesuit mission towns in Santa Cruz. Dia de la Inmaculada Concepción, 8 December
: held in towns in Santa Cruz and Cochabamba departments.
 Santa Bárbara, 14 December,
 7-day festival in Oruro. Navidad
, 24 December, is celebrated throughout Bolivia. Some of the best are Villa Serrano (Chuquisaca), Vallegrande (Santa Cruz), San Ignacio de Moxos (Beni) and Tarija, where celebrations continue until the end of January.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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