Grand Festival of Tarija


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Inscribed in 2021 (16.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

© Jaime Cusicanqi, 2017

The Grand Festival of Tarija takes place in the city of Tarija, in the southeast of Bolivia. Celebrated every year in August and September, it involves devotional processions, music festivals, competitions and fireworks dedicated to Saint Roch. The festival has its origins in the colonial period, when the inhabitants of the city entreated the saint to cure epidemics and diseases and to protect their loved ones. It is founded on religiosity and faith, preserved and transmitted within families and in the Catholic community. During the festival, processions cross the main streets of Tarija, visiting the cathedral and temples and churches, with believers showing their devotion through dances, music and prayers. Pilgrims in colourful costumes and masks perform music and dances, and neighbours decorate the temples and streets through which the procession is to pass and organize sport and cultural activities. The Grand Festival of Tarija is characterized by regional crafts, traditional dishes and the absence of alcoholic drinks.