The larges party in the country by far. The country becomes a party zone, especially in Oruro, Tarija, La Paz and Santa Cruz, with parades and street parties. Parades include local dances and costumes.
Many are the adjectives for the Carnival in Bolivia. Grand, majestic, magnificent, wonderful, etc. those are some of the adjectives with which this event is described. It combines the ancient customs of each region, department, city and rural community in the country, with Catholic traditions brought over the colony.
The diversity of options varies according to geography and cultures of each region. No matter where you are during the Carnaval you will have a blast for sure. The Carnaval in Bolivia is a synonym for good times and party, all mixed with music and tradition.
Declared by UNESCO as an Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, "the lavish Carnaval in Oruro" features a vast wealth Cultural Heritage, which combines dance and music with the devotion to Our Lady of Socavón.
This expression represents the greatest folkloric shows in Bolivia, with dances such as the Devils, Moreno, Caporales, Tinkus, Llamerada, Sicuris, Incas, Antawaras, Tobas, Wacas Waca, Kullawadas, Pujllay and others, whose members, besides orureños, come from all regions of the country, as well as from abroad, to express through dance, their faith and devotion.
The first trial or "Convite", known as "The Promise" to the Virgin begins in early November and serves to open the carnival and make a commitment to dance three years consecutively. This pledge is endorsed on the last "Convite", which takes place a week before Carnival Sunday.
The “Entrada de Carnaval” (Carnival Parade) takes place on Saturday 21st, it’s the highlight of the Oruro Carnaval, when dancers wearing luxurious costumes will parade a long the city and spectacle of more than 50 fraternity with more than 500 participants each accompanied by large musical bands. The fiesta runs until the early hours of Sunday. That day is "The Dawn" or greeting to the Virgin by the dancers who, enlivened by bands and fraternities gathered at the Socavón, showing the skill and Bolivian musical richness.
At these dates Oruro receives over 500,000 tourists, between local and foreign. This event generates around $ 8 million dollars in business, for the four days of Carnaval. The Carnival of Oruro is a magnificent demonstration of pagan costumes and religious devotion. It is an amazing demonstration of folk culture, involving young and old people; without distinction of social classes or race.
Santa Cruz Carnaval
It reflects the joyous spirit of the Santa Cruz habitants. It Begins one month before the Carnaval with the "pre-carnavaleras" in which all the groups (Comparsas) elect their Queen. A week before the carnival takes place in “mini-corso”, with the proclamation of the Carnaval Queen; witch is selected among the Comparsas Queens.
On Carnaval Saturday, from evening until dawn of Sunday of the carnival takes place in the spectacular “Corso” (Carnival Parade) with the Comparsas dancing in the streets about 300 of them. They dance through the city streets to the beat of drum bands. During the parade, expectators enjoy the luxury and colorful of the Comparsas costumes, impressive floats carrying the Comparsa queens.
The show reaches its pinnacle when the Carnaval Queen enters the main stage. The party continues on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, days in which people dance and play in downtown streets; playing with water, foam and paint.
When? This year it starts on Friday February 20 and last till March 1st. This event normally takes place during February or March (It's a Movable celebration conciding with the beggining of Lent on the Catholic Calendar)