Photo Journal: Alasitas, the Aymara 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. In Bolivia, Ekeko is a character associated with abundance and prosperity, and he is the central figure in the Festival of Alasitas. This event is based in the city of La Paz, but can also be seen in other cities of Bolivia.

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…]

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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!]

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

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