portertravels.net/Bolivia 2007 album/Pujllay

Villa de la Plata

Casa de la Libertad

Plaza 25 de Mayo

Hostal Santa Cruz


Kantu Nucchu

San Felipe Neri

Castillo La Glorieta

La Recoleta

Parque Simon Bolivar

Parque Cretácico

Prevention Parade

Oruro Carnaval




Isla del Sol



Mookie Pookie

Inka Trail

Tarabuco Palm Sunday

Bolivia 2007
Photographs by Lois and Don Porter

Pujllay in Tarabuco

The “Pujllay” is a traditional celebration that honors persons who have died in accidents or war. These souls are considered to be miraculous. On March 12, 1816, during the war for independence, a crucial battle took place 50 kilometers outside of the city of Sucre. Indigenous soldiers, led by indigenous leaders, overcame the Spanish at the “Battle of Jumbate”. On March 12, 2007, we witnessed this celebration at the actual battle site. Very few tourists were present; most tourists attend the indigenous carnival celebration, with all the same elements, the following weekend. The carnival takes place in the town of Tarabuco, not far from the battle site. The souls of the soldiers who died in the battle are honored; Bolivians have long memories.

The “Pujllay” celebration also celebrates the Andean devil “Supay” who arrives in the indigenous communities in the rainy season mounted on his white horse. He is the source of music, textiles, and fertility. The celebration is therefore a mixture of homage to those who died violent deaths as well as to the Pachamama, or Mother Earth. A large altar, called a “Pukara”, in the form of a ladder, is decorated with a variety of products from Mother Earth – drinks, fruit, meat, etc. The dancers typically dance around the Pukara.

The Tarabucan people often wear leather hats called “monteras” that are fashioned after the helmets of the Spanish conquistadors. During the Pujllay, this hat is adorned with flowers (sometimes made of cloth). The attire of both male and female dancers is quite elaborate. The men wear platform sandals called “ojotas” that have large decorative spurs attached. The sound of the spurs, as well as the sound of the bells attached to broad belts worn around the waist, contributes to the music produced by wind instruments, the toqoros, senq’as and wajras.

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