Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Alasitas fair

The largest Alasitas fair (or Alacita, Alacitas, Alasita; Spanish: Feria de las Alasitas) is an annual month-long cultural event starting on January 24th in La PazBolivia

It honours Ekeko, the Aymara god of abundance, and is noted for the giving of miniature items. Other fiestas and ferias throughout Bolivia and southern Peru incorporate alasitas into religious observances: The Fiesta of the Virgin of Copacabana (Bolivia) and the Fiesta of the Virgin of Urkupiña, for example.

Modern Celebration
The Alasitas festival is held annually for the Ekeko. It sprawls along many streets and parks in central La Paz and smaller events are held in many neighborhoods around the city. People attend the event from all over the city and even travel from other cities inside Bolivia to buy miniature versions of goods they would like to give to somebody else. These goods can be blessed by any one of the men and (less frequently) women acting as shaman. It is believed that if somebody gives a miniature version, the recipient will get the real object in the course of the following year. Examples of goods that can be bought are household items, food, computers, construction materials, cell phones, houses, cars, university diplomas and even figures of domestic workers (whom the recipient might hope to employ).
At midday on January 24th, the Catholic Church joins in the celebration by blessing the gifts at the main cathedral in La Paz.
This spring festival also celebrates the "'abundance'" or fecundity of humanity.
In 2009 Bolivia asked the United Nations to recognize the Bolivian cultural roots of the Alasitas festival, celebrating the figure of the Ekeko, something Peru also claims. However, the Bolivian ambassador in Peru, Franz Solano, acknowledged that the doll was present in both countries.
In March 2011 Elizabeth Salguero, Minister of Cultures, nominated Alasitas along with two other Bolivian festivals to UNESCO for World Heritage recognition as part of the cultural and intangible heritage of humanity.
Origins
The indigenous Aymara people observed an event called Chhalasita in the pre-Columbian era, when people prayed for good crops and exchanged basic goods. Over time, it evolved to accommodate elements of Catholicism and Western acquisitiveness. Its name is the Aymara word for "buy me".

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