The Many Colours of Carnaval

28 May, 2015 | Sophia Vahdati

Culture

PHOTO: SZYMON KOCHANSKI

Over 200 years old and officially one of UNESCO’s Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, the Carnaval de Oruro, a tradition of hedonism and spectacle, remains vibrant and debaucherous to this day. The water fights (i.e., water balloons and water guns wielded by small children and insecure changos as they terrorise the young female population), the elaborate outfits, the well-rehearsed and unworldly parades and dances, and the differing carnival experiences across Bolivia have fascinated and wowed previous BX reporters. What unites this cluster of colours and diversity? I’ll give you a hint—it’s not the honour of having Jude Law present at this year’s celebrations (although he was). For four days, Bolivia is racked by an overwhelming solidarity as the country throws itself into hedonism, decadence, and vibrant colours. Tarija, Santa Cruz, La Paz, Copacabana, Coroico—wherever you travel in mid-February, carnaval pursues you, closely followed by a well-aimed water balloon.


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