viernes, 26 de junio de 2015

Gran Poder

The festival of Gran Poder is the clearest representation of multiculturalism in Bolivia.At 7:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 30th, the first fraternity (folkloric group) enters and the government headquarters initiates the party, with 65 fraternities showing their faith, gratitude and culture along the way. One of the most important reasons for this celebration is to worship and show devotion to the Lord Jesus del Gran Poder. This festival is one of the ways in which we celebrate what it means to be Andean.

The streets are filled with people and vendors of all kinds selling food, beer as well as other traders seeking the ability to sell their products more freely. The audience is diverse, with large families moving hurriedly from one place to another in search of a space, carrying even the smallest children.  Overall, Gran Poder is a cathartic experience where the community comes together with nature, affirming its willingness to ensure the survival of the Andean heritage.

The start of the Gran Poder is a religious holiday which is expressed through dance and rhythms from different regions.  Each and every one of the dances represents a region of the country, and all of these carry a story behind them. There are countless colors, masks, costumes, and decorations which can be seen in the moves of the fraternities, not to mention the spectacle of the bands. The vibrant sound of their instruments makes the people and the dancers feel the vibrant notes of Bolivian folkloric music.

The origin of the Fiesta del Gran Poder dates far back to December 8, 1663 when they founded the Convent of the Conception Mothers.  Since its creation this celebration has undergone some changes and incorporated new dances and fraternities.  In the 30s and 40s there was an integration of native bands from Los Yungas, with drumbeats which worshipped the image of the Lord Jesus del Gran Poder. Having become a departmental event in 1952, there were departmental Paceña dance festivals at the stadium, where the idea of a more organised event was realised, drawing together the various cultural ideas.  The new version of Gran Poder 2015 seeks to achieve the title of Intangible Heritage from UNESCO. 

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