Carnaval de Oruro
Originally an indigenous festival, the celebration later was transformed to incorporate a Christian ritual around the Virgin of Candelaria, which takes place on March 2. The traditional Llama llama or Diablada became the leading traditional dance of the festival.
The Carnival of Oruro is a religious festival dating back more than 200 years that takes place in Oruro, Bolivia. It is one of UNESCO’s Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
However, the Uru continued to observe the festival in the form of a Catholic ritual on Candlemas, in the first week of each February. Christian icons were used to conceal portrayals of Andean gods, and the Christian saints stood in for other minor Andean divinities. The ceremony began forty days before Easter.
Ever since, the Carnival has been observed in honour of the Virgen de la Candelaria or Virgen del Socavon. The most important elements of the Carnival now occur in and around the Sanctuaria del Socavon.
Spanish colonization brought about a unique religious syncretism of Catholicism and Wari religion. The Virgin and the Devil from Catholic teachings were absorbed into local ideas of Pachamama and Tio Supay, a blending of religious symbolism that can still be seen during the Carnival.
The carnival starts with a ceremony dedicated to the Virgen del Socavon. Marching bands compete simultaneously in the grotto of Pie de Gallo on Sunday, which is the greeting to the Virgin.
An international jury of public figures chaired by writer Juan Goitisilo and convened by UNESCO proclaimed the Carnival one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity on May 18, 2001.