A slightly-alcoholic drink made from fermented corn, chicha is a sickly-yellow beverage hugely popular in Bolivia, especially in and around Cochabamba. It’s always homemade, prepared in huge earthenware vats, where the corn mixture is left to ferment for several days.
After a restless night, Jürgen and I were back in the main plaza at 7am of Saturday, July 16th, watching cholitas in glittering dresses and politely declining offers of cerveza from marching band members who clearly hadn’t stopped imbibing all night. The party had never paused — of this, I’m sure. I had laid in bed, eyes wide open, listening to it rage the entire night.
When we were invited by the Castellón family of Cochabamba to attend a festival in Independencia as their guests, we didn’t hesitate to accept. Independencia is a small, remote mountain village of just over two thousand people, and the festival sounded like a blast. The whole town and every neighboring community would be turning out for four days of partying. How could we say no?
We’ve already written about the our visit to Tiwanaku for the Aymara New Year celebration. But we had so many pictures, we’ve had to split them up into two posts. Here’s our second set of images from this amazing festival… including the sunrise, and the events which followed. Keep your eye out for Evo Morales: this is the second time we’ve been able to see Bolivia’s president!
The pre-Incan ruins of Tiwanaku, just 35 miles west of La Paz, host Bolivia’s biggest celebrations in honor of the Aymara New Year. With a belief system rooted heavily in the natural world, the Aymara recognize the winter solstice (June 21st) as the true beginning of the year. We woke up early in the morning to take part in the fun.