"Festival de la Virgen de Urqupinia" - Bolivia
This festival is celebrated every August in honor of the Urqupina Virgin in Quillacollo Village. Bolivians have been celebrating this event since the 18th century with rituals and acts of faith that portray a unique combination of Indian-Pagan and Christian beliefs. Markets are alive during the days of the fiesta with traditional foods, arts and crafts with related themes and colorful parades.
The first day of the festival consists of the "Entrada Folklorica" where dance groups from all over Bolivia perform and play music in honor of the Virgin.
The second day starts in the middle of the night with a 15 KM pilgrimage walk to Quillacollo followed by an early morning mass filled with the hopeful light of the devotee's candles. At the market stalls miniatures in the shape of houses, fake dollar bills, cars, passports, university diplomas or even a statue of a woman giving birth represent the pilgrims various requests. The third day at the sacred hillside where it is believed that the Virgin appeared, those miniatures will be symbolically placed on purchased pieces of land. Believers hammer into the hard surface in an effort to get a piece of rock from the blessed hill. The size of the rock they will succeed to pull out will represent the size of the favor asked from the virgin. Those who got their request granted will return to the hill the next year to pay their gratitude and have a brand new request for the Virgin.
Off the Beaten Path
Off the Beaten Path: The beautiful city of La Paz and the great shopping it offers, Lake Titikaka with its amazing altitude, the Andean way of life in the remote region of Cara Cara.
Bolivian typical cuisine in Cochabamba's La Cancha Market and the interesting indigenous culture will be some of the highlights of this section.