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Oruro Carnival, Bolivia

El Carnaval de Binche es una tradición que se ha mantenido igual durante siglos
Binche Carnival, Belgium
El Carnaval de Foiano della Chiana es una celebración llena de carrozas temáticas
Foiano della Chiana Carnival, Italy

 

What is the Carnival of Oruro?

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The Oruro Carnival is an annual celebration of cultural and religious character that takes place in Bolivia, Latin America. During this magical celebration more than 48 folkloric groups that present around 18 typical dances. The Oruro Carnival is arepresentation of the struggle of good against evil, with good always winning.

The celebration has been held since the eighteenth century. It was originally an indigenous festival; however, the celebration was later transformed to incorporate a Christian ritual around the Virgen of Candelaria. Although the main interpretations are of Catholic origin, there are also other images that take characteristics, personalities and spiritual manifestations of theindigenous peoples and cultures.

 

 

Traditions and customs are maintained and developed during the Oruro carnival festivities through cultural interpretations. The carnival is a magical cultural nuance that originates mainly from the sowing and harvest festivities of the people of Oruro. In addition, the festivities are characterized by the participation of the various sectors of the regions that dance in the company of music unique to each region and community.

The carnivals are filled with an incredible festive atmosphere that combines withthe magic and variety of 25,000 dancers and 10,000 musicians who come from all corners of the country to participate in this emblematic religious and cultural celebration. The groups have a great journey ahead of them, as the parade covers about 4 kilometers in distance where they perform various cultural presentations such as music and dances. Among the most representative dances of the festivity of can be found: The Diablada, Caporales, the Morenada, The Negritos and many other manifestations that are part of a long Bolivian tradition.

The Oruro Carnival in turn, integrates a great variety of popular arts that are expressed through masks, textiles and embroidery, turning the festivities into a great stage of tens of thousands of colors, costumes and images. The whole event is a great visual spectacle that everyone should experience at least once in a lifetime.

Due to its great cultural importance, the Carnival of Oruro was proclaimed as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity on May 18, 2001.

 

The Oruro Carnival is the result of the mixture between cultures and religion

The Oruro Carnival is the result of the mixture between cultures and religion

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When is the Carnival of Oruro?

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The Oruro carnival is composed of 4 official days or in which the most important celebrations take place, being from Saturday to Monday. However, the carnivals have events that take place ceremonies, events and activities that take place up to a week in advance. Generally, the Oruro Carnival takes place between the months of February and March.

 

 

History of the Carnivals of Oruro

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The large number of manifestations that today are presented in the carnivals of Oruro are pre-Hispanic traditions performed by hunters, agricultural and other areas of the lowlands of Bolivia. In addition, Oruro had been the epicenter of several migrations and pilgrimages of adjacent peoples and ethnicities, incorporating a wide range of beliefs and traditions. With the arrival of the Spanish, there was an integration of all thesepre-Hispanic elements with the Catholic religion, integrating two strands: a universal devil that had been the result of the image of Wari or “uncle of the mine“, deity of the miners and the Virgen del Socavón as a result of the Pacha Mama.

 

Development during the colonial era

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The main elements of the festivities arise due to the encounter of the Spaniards with the traditions and cultures native that were already in the region. Through this contact, newsocial and religious elements began to emerge that were influenced by religious figures from the western world. The local labor force, which was mainly involved in mining, paid homage to the Virgin through parades of devils on rest days. However, the celebrations were banned for the vast majority of the 17th century. Despite this, the festivities continued to be present thanks to the practices of the natives in the Fiesta de la Candelaria..

If you want to know more about tourism in this country I recommend this guide:.

Carnival broadcast

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The parades shared European and Creole elements, which were expressed by the natives during the festivities. In addition, carnivals had acquired great popularity, being celebrated in the cities and markets. The people celebrated with games, some primitive comparsas and dances.

Once independence was achieved, the carnival took on a deeper meaning, particularly for the residents, as the comparsas began to integrate cultural and historical elements that allowed their liberation. The characteristic dances of the carnivals had emerged as a kind of mockery towards the colonizers and slaves that had been present during the Virreinato. In addition, the dances underwent various transformations due toregional conflicts and diverse contacts with social sectors from other continental areas.

 

Today

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At present, the carnivals show a profound demonstration of religious elements that are carried out through ceremonies commemorating the Virgen del Socavón. This is accompanied by the dozens of groupings that perform large folkloric dances along a 4-kilometer route. The variouscultural presentations are a reflection of all the history faced by the city and the country, including the religious clash represented through the dances and the battle of good against evil.

 

Where is the Oruro Carnival

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The carnivals are held in the city of Oruro, Cercado province. The city has a total area of about 293 square kilometers and a population of approximately 264,000 people.

 

The Carnival of Oruro is a cultural representation of pre-Hispanic cultures and the Catholic religion

The Carnival of Oruro is a cultural representation of pre-Hispanic cultures and the Catholic religion

 

How the Oruro Carnival is celebrated

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The Oruro Carnival has an extensive program in which various religious and cultural manifestations can be found. In general, the carnivals consist of two stages that are divided between the 4 days of major importance and the events that occur before these. Among the most outstanding are:

 

Pre-Carnival celebrations

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Festival de Bandas

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It is a great event that kicks off the Carnival of Oruro festivities. The event features a large number of musical bands, which are composed of various metal instruments, percussion and cymbals. The bands perform an extensive number of presentations that include with costumes and uniforms, as well as performing a small choreography.

 

Last Convite

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The last convite is an event that serves as a rehearsal prior to the entrance of the carnival. The event includes, of course, the 48 folkloric groups that are part of the carnival. The event takes place in the streets along with the dancers and all the components that are a traditional part of the groups.

 

Anata Andina Native Entrance

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It is a celebratory event in which theindigenous peasant community participates mainly to celebrate the abundance of agricultural production that the Pacha Mama has given them. The celebration has its origins in the rainy season when crops have flourished.

The parade is characterized by the large number of flowers and the varioussacred ceremonies as thanks to the Pacha Mama and her blessings. Dozens of comparsas cross the streets performing dances in traditional costumes and dresses accompanied by traditional music.



Convite del Tio-Challa

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The convite is a celebration that takes place in the minas located on the outskirts of the city of Oruro. During the event, various cultural manifestations are held such as music and dancing. In addition, the party is accompanied by food and drink.

During the celebration some sacrifices are also made as thanks to the Pacha Mama for good crops and a good day in the mining works. The day ends with a fireworks show..

 

Official carnivals

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Pilgrimage to the Socavón Sanctuary

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It is the event that kicks off the official carnival festivities and it is a large folklore parade with the participation of dozens offolklore groups and ensembles that wearcolorful costumes and distinctive of their ethnicity and culture. In addition, they perform a large number of choreographies and traditional musical pieces.

The pilgrimage is made up of more than 50,000 devotees who flood the streets of the city as they make way for the images of the virgin that pass through the streets. In addition, hundreds of dancers parade revealing a large and varied repertoire of dances in which the Diabladas, Morenadas, Caporales, Kallawayas, Llameradas, Reyes Morenos and many other genres stand out. The event is the most important of the carnivals and is a great display of both cultural and religious elements.

 

Carnival Corso entrance

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It is the traditional dawn celebration in the vicinity of the Santuario de Socavón. During the event you see the dozens of traditional groups parading alongside the musical bands. Just like the previous day, it is a great parade where the bands participate performing their repertoires of traditional dances with their colorful costumes and masks.

 

Day of the Devil and the Moreno

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The folkloric groups perform in different places of thecity of Oruro and there are cultural demonstrations everywhere. It is the last day of the Carnival in Oruro, so the farewell of the dancers of the Virgen Socavón and the masses for the different guilds take place.

During the afternoon, social receptions are held to end with a performance of diabladas.

 

Tips to go to the Carnivals of Oruro

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If you wish to attend the Oruro Carnival, we recommend you to plan your trip in advance, make an itinerary of activities and book your accommodation in advance. In addition, we recommend you to pack comfortable clothes and shoes so you can fully enjoy your carnival.

You can watch the parades and cultural manifestations through the bleachers or seats in the Central Plaza, as well as observe the presentations on foot. However, the exclusive use of the grandstands or cordoned-off spaces has a usage fee, which can range from US$7 to US$300.

During the celebration they may spray some aerosol foam for the entertainment of the masses, so we recommend you bring some eye protection or a rag to wipe it off quickly, as it can irritate the skin. If you wish, you can stay away from this type of event completely.

 

Events in Oruro Carnival

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The Oruro Carnival has a solid and structured programming that is divided between the pre-Carnival events and the various official events of the festivities.

 

Pre-Carnival events

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Festival de Bandas will be held on February 6. The event takes place in the Civic Plaza, which would come to be the vicinity of the Santuario del Socavón at 9 am.

 

Last Convite

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It is celebrated on Sunday, February 7 and its starting point is at 6:30 in the morning where dozens of folklore groups participate.

 

Anata Andina Native Entrance

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The event takes place on Thursday, February 11 at 8:30 in the morning.

 

Convite del Tio Challa

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The event takes place within the jurisdiction of the city of Oruro.

 

 

Official Carnival Events

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Pilgrimage to the Socavón Sanctuary

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The event takes place on February 13 starting at 6:30 in the morning. People congregate on Aroma street with intersection at Potosí street to the sanctuary.

 

Carnival Corso entrance

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The event takes place on February 14 at 6:30 a.m. in the vicinity of the Santuario del Socavón.

 

Day of the Devil and the Moreno

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The event takes place on February 15 at the Santuario del Socavón..

 

Challa

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It is an event that takes place in the various neighborhoods of Oruro on February 16.

 

Children’s Corso

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The children’s corso takes place on Sunday, February 21 and is a celebration dedicated exclusively for the children of the city.

 

Las Diabladas is one of the typical dances of the Oruro Carnival

The Diabladas is one of the typical dances of the Oruro Carnival

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Carnival of Oruro Parades

 

The parades occur on various occasions during the Carnival of Oruro and all of them comply withcomponents and cultural manifestations accompanied by music and a great show. The fireworks can never miss in the festivities, illuminating the sky during the entire presentation.

The most important parade, both religious and cultural, is on Saturday, when the streets of the city are walked in the company of the image of the virgin. In addition, it has the participation of dozens of groups that in turn integrate thousands of dancers and musicians. The parade extends for more than 40 blocks in the city of Oruro and can take hours of parade.

The groups have large and colorful costumes, some of which have imposing colorful masks and symbolic masks. The most important groups are the diabladas and are usually first in the parade. At nightfall, the masks are illuminated thanks to adaptations with small lights, which transforms the parade into a magical light show.

 

Parade route

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The Oruro Carnival Parade leaves from Aroma Street to the Sanctuary

The Oruro Carnival Parade leaves from Aroma Street to the Sanctuary

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The parade that takes place on Saturday and the entrance of the Carnival parade starts at Union Park. Once the parade starts, it moves along Aroma Street with Potosi until it reaches 6 de Agosto Avenue. Once there, it goes down the avenue until it reaches the intersection with Bolivar Street. The parade passes through La Plata, Adolfo Mier and Presidente Montes streets. Finally, the parade ends at the Sanctuary of El Socavón.

 

Api con Pastel is one of the typical dishes of Oruro

Api con Pastel is one of the typical dishes of Oruro

 

What to eat in the Oruro Carnival

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Like many other cultures of the planet at the time of celebrating carnivals, the city of Oruro has some dishes that are traditional of the carnival season. Usually the food consists of meats, but you can also get a good amount of drinks and sweet or fried food.

One of the traditional dishes in the city’s festivities is the Api con Pastel. This dish is a somewhat thick drink made with corn flour boiled with water, cinnamon and sugar. It is usually accompanied with fried flour cakes filled with cheese.

You can also try the Condori or Fricase Orureño. It is a kind of broth accompanied by llama meat and some vegetables. The dish is also accompanied by potatoes and corn.

In addition, the city offers some places where you can try a variety of local, regional and international cuisine: Nayjama, Restaurant Pagador, Bravo’s Pizza, Govinda and La Casona.

 

Condori is one of the typical dishes of Orurno made from llama meat

Condori is one of the typical dishes of Orurno made from llama meat

 

Travel Insurance

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From Carnavalesdelmundo.org we recommend to hire a good insurance to visit this carnival and to know the rest of the country. For being our readers we offer a 5% discount on all IATI insurance. Read more information about all insurance offers here:

 

 

What to see and do inside the Carnival of Oruro

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Once you are in the Carnival of Oruro, you have the opportunity to participate in either the pre-carnival celebrations or events or in the official carnival events.

If you decide to extend your visit to the carnivals, you can attend the Festival de las Bandas, the Último Convite and the Entrada Autóctona Anata Andina. You can’t forget toattend all the events of the official carnival, from the PPPergrimage to the Socavón Sanctuary to the Challa through the neighborhoods of Oruro. Every day there is an extensive participation of cultural groups worthy of admiration.

If you don’t want to complicate things, you can book interesting excursions in Spanish in this city here:.

Guided tours in Spanish around the world

 

What to see and do outside of the Oruro Carnivals

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Some of the tourist attractions you can visit during your stay in the carnivals are:

 

Monument to the virgin of Socavón

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It is a large monument to the Virgen del Socavón that was built inaugurated on February 1, 2013. The structure has a height of 45 meters from the base.

 

Santuario del Socavón

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It is the main temple of the city that serves as a meeting point for the carnivals. The temple was built in 1781 with the name of Church of Our Lady of Copacabana. Below the structure is a museum where you can appreciate the work of the silver mines.

 

Archaeological Museum

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The museum has different areas and exhibits of history, mummies, ceramics, weapons and sculptures. Admission is extremely inexpensive, about one US dollar. The museum is well laid out and is a must-see if you are interested in the history of the city or ancient works.

Also, if you want to visit museums and important buildings in this city we recommend that you book your ticket in advance through Tiquets: .

Book tickets in the city you are visiting

 

Safety in the Oruro Carnival

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The city of Oruro is safe, so you should not worry about visiting it during the carnivals. However, we recommend as always to apply basic safety measures, avoid going out on the street with jewelry and contact the relevant authorities if you manage to identify any suspicious activity around you.

Also, we recommend the following products to store your items safely:

 

 

Weather in the Oruro Carnival

 

During the carnival celebrations, the city of Oruro has a pleasant climate, but somewhat cold at night, with temperatures ranging between 18 and 6 degrees Celsius. We recommend you to pack some warm clothes if you are a cold person.

 

Dozens of cultural groups take to the streets to celebrate the Oruro Carnival

Dozens of cultural groups take to the streets to celebrate the Oruro Carnival

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How to get to the Oruro Carnival

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How to get there by plane

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The airport has its own international airport known as Aeropuerto Internacional Teniente Coronel Juan Mendoza y Nernuldez, which receives some international flights.

You can also get to the Jorge Wilstermann Camacho International Airport or Copacabana International Airport which is a little further away.

We recommend buying airline tickets through Kiwi.com or Skyscanner where they are usually cheaper. More information on this link to review Kiwi.com..

 

How to get there by train

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You can get to Oruro from the Expreso Sur or Wara Wara. Trains depart from Uyuni, Tupiza and Villazón. Trains offer a large number of pods and stalls.

 

How to get there by bus

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You can reach Oruro via buses departing from La Paz, Cochabamba, Challapata, Uyumi, Iquique and Calama.

 

How to get there by car

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From the Oruro airport you can take a car and cross Route 12 until you reach the city center. The trip takes 10 minutes.

If you decide to take a cab, the price of a taxi ranges between 10 and 13 US dollars.

 

Where to stay at the Oruro Carnival

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Booking.com

 

Hotel Bernal

2 star hotel 850 meters from the center of Oruro. Rooms feature kettle, closet, TV and private bathroom. Facilities offer parking and free wifi.

 

Hotel Eden By Bluebay

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5 stars hotel, 1.2 km from the center of Oruro. Rooms feature minibar, cable TV and private bathroom with bathtub. Facilities include a bar, parking and free Wi-Fi.

 

Gran Sucre Hotel

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3 star hotel 1.3 km from the center of Oruro. Rooms feature cable TV and private bathrooms with toiletries. The hotel has a bar, parking and free wifi.

We recommend you use Booking.com to book hotels at a good price, check more information here:.



 

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