Photo Journal: Alasitas, the Aymara Festival of Abundance.

05 Feb

During the month of January, we were introduced to the popular Alasitas! Miniatures representing a wish one is seeking pursuing. It could be a house, a job, a diploma, a car, food for the pantry, a construction building or construction supplies…even money! [they actually had miniature copies of dollar, euro and peso/boliviano bills!].

The Alasitas is a 3-week long fair that, in La Paz, takes place beginning on the 24th of January. Everything is in miniature! This festival originally started when farmers prayed for a good crop so their harvest would be bountiful. Alasitas is an Aymara festival Bolivia celebrates in reverence of the indigenous “god of bounty” or “abundance” called the Ekeko.

Therefore, Alasitas has been called the Festival of Abundance.  Ekeko is a diminutive fellow with a jolly disposition. His happiness may have something to do with the material wealth overflowing in his arms. Miniature versions of dollar bills, euros, fancy cars, houses, and college diplomas can all be seen in the presence of Ekeko. This event is based in the city of La Paz, but can also be seen in other cities of Bolivia.

Old, young and children become excited to acquire bills, houses, vehicles, household items, college diplomas… The desire to buy some bills is so that one’s pockets aren’t empty during the year. In addition to shopping, there was some excitement to find those that in Aymara are called “YATIRIS,” which can be said to mean “PSYCHIC,” so that they can CHALLAR (bless) the purchased miniatures, which helps make these wishes into reality. The challa is an Andean ritual that sprinkle these items with a drink (alcohol or wine) and cover them with incense.

People would buy their ‘product of desire’ and have it blessed by a priest [at the church] or by a native yatiiri… Some people chose both options, why not? 😮

Miniatures for every taste and wish: your dream house, your car, passports, credit cards & suitcases for that long waited travel… or, maybe, that wonderful engagement ring…

For those ladies seeking marriage(!!), why not go for a blessed miniature of a Rooster?! That could guarantee not only a good mate for the seeking lady, but also, would ensure he could father many children! 😮 [for the unmarried men, there’s also a version, with Chicken, instead of the male bird…]


Having trouble finding a job? Getting your College Degree? Or… putting an end to a bad marriage? Find there miniatures of Work Contracts, College Diplomas and… a Divorce Certificate! 😮 [top left, kid’s hand, “compre aqui su sentencia de divorcio” = buy here your divorce agreement!]



What about you? What would be your ‘miniature of desire’? 😮

Thank you for reading, and lots of luck in 2013!


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16 responses to “Photo Journal: Alasitas, the Aymara Festival of Abundance.

  1. Bella Remy Photography

    February 5, 2013 at 10:52 pm

    Oh how I miss going to Alacitas. Truly the best festival I’ve ever been too. My parents bought a house, and by the end of the year they had bought a new one in Maryland.’ works! Now to enjoy the water festival or has that happened already?


    • 3rdCultureChildren

      February 6, 2013 at 12:13 am

      I haven’t heard about the water festival, yet… Need to check into this, for sure…. from the Alasitas, I bought some money, and credit cards… 😮 why not right? Thanks for commenting!


      • Bella Remy Photography

        February 6, 2013 at 12:23 am

        I think it’s part of Carnival which is around Alacitas time. People just randomly go through the streets throwing water on other people. It’ll be interesting if they’re still doing it.


        • 3rdCultureChildren

          February 6, 2013 at 12:29 am

          well, they have already started throwing water bags, ice on people, on the streets… Centro, San Miguel… The kids are everywhere with their rubber bags and water guns… 😮


  2. Chas Spain

    February 5, 2013 at 8:26 am

    The wee little builder’s wheelbarrow – I would have to buy that. I did a post a little while ago about a miniature gardener (who makes mini gardens in potholes) – this would go so well there. (Oh the gardener isn’t miniature himself – just his gardens…)


    • 3rdCultureChildren

      February 5, 2013 at 8:32 am

      Good to know! Feel free to use the image/picture, if you want – just remember to mention the source… and/or link to this original post! I’ll be glad to share… 😮 Thanks for stopping by, Raquel.


  3. strollingsouthamerica

    February 4, 2013 at 10:53 pm

    Isn’t Alasitas fun? I was surprised at the variety of miniatures available – my friend even bought a land deed! My students also gave me lots of ‘money’ so I should be well-set for this year 🙂


    • 3rdCultureChildren

      February 4, 2013 at 11:09 pm

      So fun! I got the miniature money, as well! One can buy anything! 😮


  4. strollingsouthamerica

    February 4, 2013 at 10:49 pm

    Isn’t Alasitas fun? I was really surprised by the variety of miniatures that can be bought. I was given loads of ‘money’ from my students, so hopefully I will be well-set for this year!


  5. Terri at Time To Be Inspired

    February 4, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    I love all the things you share about other cultures around the world. A miniature microscope would help me find focus?


    • 3rdCultureChildren

      February 4, 2013 at 9:24 pm

      Could you imagine? 😮 Although, I actually found a miniature of a beer case (24 bottles) and miniature whisky bottles – they’re happily decorating the husband’s office desk, right now… I’m sure they’d have a microscope… shy not? 😮 Thank you so much for checking it out and sharing your interest!


  6. Lucid Gypsy

    February 4, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    PJB’s comment is lovely! I have to confess I’d probably choose a suitcase and some flights!


    • 3rdCultureChildren

      February 4, 2013 at 9:26 pm

      I chose money [miniature dollar bills] and a passport… then, brought it all for the Yakiti blessing… Why not? 😮


    • 3rdCultureChildren

      February 4, 2013 at 9:27 pm

      Also, who doesn’t want some happy face, right? 😮


  7. Photography Journal Blog

    February 4, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    A miniature “happy with what I have” for the times that I forget 🙂


    • 3rdCultureChildren

      February 4, 2013 at 6:09 pm

      Isn’t that a lovely thought? 😮 Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts – it’s easy to forget how happy we are for what we’ve already got!



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