Celebrate the "Coldest night of the year" in Bolivia

The Coldest night of the year will be celebrated on June, 23rd and the fist hours of the 24Th. That night entire Bolivia celebrates the Noche de San Juan (St. John’s night) it’s a very ancient tradition which is celebrated in many parts of Europe and Latin America, and is an established event in Bolivia, this is a tradition brought to the country by the Spanish colonist; in the northern hemisphere Noche de San Juan celebrated the shortest night of the year and the arrival of summer; while here in Bolivia it was adapted to celebrate the coldest night of the year and the arrival of winter. The traditional way to celebrate this event consisted in bonfires where fire wood was burned, families and friends gathered together around the bonfires to celebrate the coldest night of the year. The bonfires were accompanied by heartily food, “ponche” (milk based alcoholic beverage, served hot), music, dance and a lot of fireworks. In modern times and due to ecological concerns authorities have banned bonfires, but the party and the family reunion continues to live on. In small towns and remotte areas of the country bonfires are still lit on San Juan Night.

In the modern version of Noche de
San Juan, the party has also met the modern life, been carried out in clubs, bars and discotheques as well. It’s a well publicized event around Bolivia, just ask you’re hotel concierge or taxi driver for a good San Juan Night party and they will give you good tips on how to get to one. Music, dance, hot dogs and ponche are a big part of the party and off course fireworks.

Aymara New Year 5517 at Tiwanaku

Bolivian Government agencies launched on Monday 15th the official program for the Aymara New Year 5517 in the ruins of a pre-Columbian city of Tiwanaku, 72 kilometers from the seat of government, the next 20 to June 21.

The official launch was held in the Plaza Murillo in La Paz, with the participation of Bolivia's Chancellor David Choquehuanca, the Minister of Culture Pablo Groux, the prefect of La Paz, Pablo Ramos and the Mayor of Tiwanaku, Eulogia Quispe, who invited national and international people to be part of the ancient rite of "Willkakuti 2009" (return of the sun) will start the new year aymara 5517.

“According to shamans, Tiwanaku is part of network of energy centers around the world. Every year we prepare to receive the energy of the new sun. We invite all to come to Tiwanaku and celebrate with us on June 21," said Chancellor Choquehuanca.

Tiwanaku has been the center of spiritual and political life of the Tiwanaku culture. After the extinction of this culture, Andean people had gathered here to celebrate the Willkakuti, for many centuries. The celebration of the New Year or Willkakuti coincides with winter solstice in the southern hemisphere, when the sun is farthest from the planet. This natural phenomenon marks the beginning of a new planting season.

According to the official program, the June 20 will start on the town’s main square of Tiwanaku, with a pilgrimage to Quimsa Chata, where there will be an offering to mother earth.

Later at 5 p.m. on the main square of the town there will be a Cultural Festival for all visitors, this will last trough the night and it will be accompanied of native music and. The next day all will be ready for the Ritual Ceremony of the Great Willkakuti at the temple of Kalasasaya. The sun will rise around 07:25 a.m. when all locals and visitors will receive the Cosmic Energy of the first rays of the sun on a New Year. This will be done by raising the hands to the rays of the new sun as tradition calls.

Tours for this celebration are easy to find around Sagarnaga Street in La Paz. It’s advised to bring warm clothes, gloves and something warm to drink, due to the frigid conditions of the Andes during the night.

We wish you all a Happy New Year 5517.

Fiesta de Jesús del Gran Poder 2009

Fiesta de Jesús del Gran Poder 2009

If you're in
La Paz on June 6th this is an event you can miss. The Fiesta de Jesús del Gran Poder (Jesus Almighty) is one of the larges celebrations in Bolivia outside the Carnaval. The religious celebration include a dancers parade a across the city of La Paz, the dances are performed by devotes of the image of Jesus of el Gran Poder, one of the most revered and venerated images in Bolivia.

The dancers parade starts around 10:00 a.m. and lasts the entire day, it starts at Cementerio near the Jesus of Grand Poder Chruch and finishes at Park Roosevelt near the Hernando Siles Stadium, crossing the entire downtown area, you'll need to get a sit early in the morning, the area near Plaza San Francisco is considered to be one of the best places to be watch this magnificent traditional dances display.

June 6th (Movable according with the Catholic Calendar)
Fiesta de Jesús
del Gran Poder
La Paz-La Paz