Snapshots of Artistic Expressions in La Paz. Part II: The Fighting Cholitas!

04 Feb

Like many others, I need colorful and fun experiences in my life. A good way to cope with the intense life of the foreign service [moving every so often, and raising kids along the way]: find ways to ‘dive into the local culture, learning about their traditions and what moves their hearts! 😮

We’ve already been posted in Bolivia for exactly 6 months, and I’m always on the lookout for interesting stories, traditional eventss, unique ways that represent the Bolivian Culture. The first post was about Art in La Paz through paintings. This time, a group of friends was taken to El Alto, just outside La Paz, for a Sunday afternoon experience with the Fighting Cholitas‘! A unique experience for many foreigners visiting Bolivia, and a great fit for this week’s photo challenge!

In order to ‘educate myself’ a bit, I did a brief research on these famous women, and the easiest explanation comes from Wikipedia:

The Fighting Cholitas are a group of female lucha librewrestlers who perform in El Alto, Bolivia. The Cholitas are part of a group called the Titans of the Ring, which includes both male and female wrestlers. The Titans perform each Sunday for an audience of hundreds at El Alto’s Multifunctional Center.

Like the general population of El Alto, which consists almost entirely of Aymara and Quechua residents, the Cholitas are indigenous. They wear braided hair, bowler hats and multilayered skirts in the ring.

Now, less talk and more images. Starting with our short trip leaving the city of La Paz, towards El Alto, the ‘grand stage’ for the Cholitas Performance!

The ‘way to travel’: our Cholita Wrestling Bus, personalized tickets, snacks and souvenirs!

The ‘performers’… or should I say… ‘the fearless fighters’ and their loyal fans? 😮

These women aren’t like the men in their spandex outfits and masks. They’re Cholitas,  indigenous Bolivian women in their traditional Aymara Indian clothes. The outfit includes a layered skirt buoyed by petticoats, a shawl with long swinging fringe and a bowler hat adorned with gold pins. It’s what the women wear in, and out, of the wrestling ring.

Cholitas wrestling is an ever-growing business. Hundreds of tourists, and Bolivians, line up every week to watch the cholitas beat on each other. But why the fascination? “It’s something spectacular, something never seen before to have a cholita in the ring,” a common opinion shared among us, astonished and somehow, confused (?), members of the Sunday audience…. 😮


Posted by on February 4, 2013 in ART, BOLIVIA, humor, photography, sports


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

12 responses to “Snapshots of Artistic Expressions in La Paz. Part II: The Fighting Cholitas!

  1. dearrosie

    February 5, 2013 at 1:05 am

    That certainly is a unique post. Wow these women wrestlers are dressed as if they’re going to dance the flamenco!
    Great photo of La Paz – interesting to see its such a large city.


    • 3rdCultureChildren

      February 5, 2013 at 7:53 am

      Thank you! You’re right: they come in like they’re going to attend a party – full gear! Including the hat… and then, jump into the ring! 😮 Thanks for stopping by and commenting!


  2. ruthincolorado

    February 4, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    Wow! What a tradition. And your city photo is amazing.


    • 3rdCultureChildren

      February 4, 2013 at 2:47 pm

      Thanks, Ruth! I may do a post just in La Paz, using photos taken from the higher part of the city, ‘El Alto’… it makes everything look so small! Thanks for commenting!


      • ruthincolorado

        February 4, 2013 at 7:21 pm

        I’d love to see more!


        • 3rdCultureChildren

          February 4, 2013 at 9:25 pm

          Thanks, Ruth – I had to leave out the photos that were a bit ‘too graphic’… I don’t think many would’ve enjoyed seeing wood fruit boxes being broken on somebody’s head… Thanks for the interest! 😮


  3. Chas Spain

    February 4, 2013 at 9:27 am

    The view over the town is extraordinary – it looks like a vast pixelated puzzle.


    • 3rdCultureChildren

      February 4, 2013 at 2:46 pm

      I know! 😮 What a great description! The houses actually look like their ‘play houses’, made out of tiny little plastic bricks! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!


  4. colonialist

    February 4, 2013 at 7:55 am

    What fun it would be if one of our local bag-snatchers were to try it on a visiting cholita! 🙂
    Goodness, that is a populous area.


  5. Lucid Gypsy

    February 4, 2013 at 3:48 am

    Do they take it seriously Raquel? or is it meant to be fun?


    • 3rdCultureChildren

      February 4, 2013 at 8:03 am

      It’s just for fun… although some women [wrestlers] agree they may get hurt from time to time… strange tradition…



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