It is no secret that Bolivians love a good party. From the spiritual and traditional, to the more wild and westernised, Bolivia’s festivals are unique, colourful, and voracious; a fantastic experience for any fun loving traveler. What’s so wonderful about Bolivia is that at any time of year you can rest assure there will be some type of event to celebrate. Below we have listed some of the most interesting and entertaining festivals throughout the country:From the 2nd to the 5th of February each year, people from all over the world make the pilgrimage to the glimmering shores of Lake Titicaca to honour the Patroness of Bolivia, Our Lady of Copacabana. Read more: Festival of the Virgen de la CandelariaEach year on June 23rd, the Catholic festival of San Juan Batista, known for its large bon-fires, copious drinking and fearsome fire-walking, is celebrated countrywide to coincide with Bolivia’s winter solstice and harvest season. Read more: San Juan Festival
Alasitas Festival (January)Taking place just before Carnaval, Alasitas Fair, or Feria de las Alasitas in Spanish, is a month-long festival, where locals purchase miniature items to give to Ekeko, the Aymara god of abundance, in the hope he will bring fortunate and happiness to their lives. Read more: Alasitas Festival
Virgen de la Candelaria Copacabana (February)
Oruro Carnaval (February/March)Each year on the Saturday before Ash Wednesday, the usually sleepy Oruro comes alive, hosting the world renowned Carnival. The unique festival features spectacular folk dances, extravagant costumes, beautiful crafts, lively music, and up to 20 hours of continuous partying. Read more: Oruro Carnaval
Pujllay Festival Of Tarabuco (March)Located in the Chuquisaca department, about 65 km east of Sucre, is a town famous not only for its vibrant open air market and unique Yampara culture, but its annual two-day weekend fiesta held each year on March 12. Read more: The Pujllay Festival of Tarabuco
Semana Santa (March/April)Semana Santa, or Holy Week, is the week leading up to, but not including, Easter Sunday. The Christian holiday is observed throughout Latin America with Bolivia being no exception. Despite the sombre occasion, Semana Santa is a lively celebration featuring food, music, dance and religious processions. Read more: Semana Santa (Holy Week) in Sucre Bolivia
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Fiesta del Gran Poder (May/June)Translated as “Festival of the Great Power”, Fiesta del Gran Poder is a religious celebration paying homage to Señor del Gran Poder or Jesus Christ. The dramatic festival features thousands of dancers parading down the sprawling streets of La Paz, flaunting their colourful costumes while thousands of spectators cheer in delight. Read more: Fiesta del Gran Poder
Aymara New Year (June)One of the biggest events in the Bolivian calendar is the Amayra New Year. On the 21st of June, Bolivia observes a national holiday in recognition of the Aymara who inhabit the West of Bolivia and Southern Peru. Coinciding with the winter solstice, the New Year holiday marks the start of the Aymaran year. Read more: Aymara New Year
San Juan Festival (June)
Urkupiña Festival (August)A week long celebration dedicated to both Pachamama and the Virgin Mary, the Festival of Urkupiña is colourful celebration featuring a mix of both Catholic and indigenous traditions. Held in Bolivia’s small town of Quillacollo, the annual festival attracts hundreds and thousands of visitors looking to take part in sacred pilgrimages and solemn ceremonies. Energetic folk dancing, colourful costumes, Andean music and tasty local cuisine are just some of the reasons why Urkupiña is one of Bolivia’s most cherished festivals.
Virgen de Guadalupe Festival In Sucre (September)
Festival de la Virgen de GuadalupeEach year, in the first half of September, the serene city of Sucre transforms into a voracious party zone featuring non-stop dancing, joyful music, delicious food and elaborate costumes, all in honour of Sucre’s patroness, the Virgin of Guadalupe. Read more:
Todos Santos (November)A combination of indigenous tradition and Catholic beliefs, November 1st marks Todos Santos, or All Saints’ Day, a day in which Bolivian families gather to welcome the returning dead. Read more: Todos Santos in Bolivia
Christmas in Bolivia combines the best of traditional religious celebrations and Western festivities to produce a holiday which is both deeply meaningful and outrageously fun. It’s a unique blend, the likes of which you’ve probably never experienced before. Read more: Christmas in Sucre BoliviaGot a Bolivian festival you’d like to recommend? Share in the comments below: