This past weekend was the annual three-day religious festival called Urkupiña, celebrating the Virgin of Urkupiña. There’s also a slideshow of our best photos at the bottom of this post.
The festival opens with a parade of traditional dances on Friday, similar to those seen on the left. Most dancers make a three year commitment to dance “for the Virgin” at this festival, and many continue dancing beyond three years. Saturday afternoon is also full of dancers, typically in more modern dress. We watched for over two hours on Saturday, and maybe saw half of the dancers.
As we made our way to the church, we passed countless stalls selling “miniatures”. You could buy mini houses, mini counterfeit money (Bolivianos, US Dollars, and Euros), mini diplomas, mini cars, etc. In some ways, it reminded me of a toy store. The purpose is to buy what you want to happen to you (for example, if you want to travel, buy a mini suitcase and a mini passport), then get it blessed by the priest (below left) and a witch doctor (below right). All the shops lining the entryway to the church reminded me of Jesus clearing the temple.