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

Like many others, I need colorful experiences in my life. A few years back, I discovered a good way to cope with the intense life of the foreign service, moving every so often, and raising kids along the way – through artistic expressions. We’ve been at our new posting for exactly 6 months, and I’m always on the lookout for interesting stories, traditional customs, 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’!

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…. 😮