Water, and foam, and FIESTA, oh my! We are in the midst of the Carnival season. In Bolivia, Carnival combines the ancient traditions of each region and rural community in the country with the European traditions brought over during the colonial period. It is a time of elaborate dancing, music, and costumes. And Cochabambinos have been preparing for months.
Since January, crowds gather each night to practice the traditional dances in a blocked off street or park, I woke each morning to trumpeters practicing for the “entrada” (parade), and adolescents have been throwing water balloons as they drive past. Each city adds its unique flavor to Carnival. This weekend, hoards of Bolivians flocked to Oruro for the most famous and notoriously crazy “entrada” in the country. NCV Director Paola used to dance in the Oruro Carnival when she was in college, which is not a minor feat–only the best dancers are invited to Oruro.
Today was Cochabamba’s kid “entrada,” and the first year that our niños partook in dancing and marching through the city center. The older girls had fun from the side-lines playing with water and foam guns. What a scene!