El Gran Poder 2012
El Gran Poder is a religious festivity celebrated in La Paz every year. On june 2nd 2012, I was able to observe the cultural diversity that this celebration demonstrates. It is a very colorful occasion, which may very well be a good symbol of the cultural prism that is Bolivia. Around 60 groups danced to the rhythm of the drums and the trumpets. According to the national news (RTP), approximately 70.000 people were part of this magnificent show; 20.000 men and women played instruments and 50.000 dancers demonstrated their talent and great energy wearing all kinds of traditional clothing representative of La Paz.
It was possible to see a spectrum of colors and dances that decorated the city with culture. Some of the performances were morenada , kullawada, llamerada, cueca, caporales, and Saya Afroboliviana. The colors of the Gran Poder 2012 were turquoise and lilac (RTP).
This year, la morenada was definitely the protagonist of el Gran Poder , and many groups were proud to perform it. La morenada does not only display color and beauty, but also tells us the history of the Spanish conquest in Bolivia. The morenos represent the foremen in the mines with their long and white (or yellow) beards, smoking pipe, and imposing attitude when dancing.
This Moreno is wearing silver attire, which representing his wealth.
I could appreciate the cultural diversity of the region, while enjoying a delicious canela ice cream , traditional of La Paz, which street vendors offered me during this hot afternoon. However, I could not stand still for too long before feeling the temptation of dancing at the rhythm of the music.
Paceños are very proud of their culture and often want us (those who come from other countries) to learn more about it ,which in this occasion means, making us dance and pose with dancers in the middle of the street, as if we were also part of the party. Personally, I felt as welcomed if I were at home!
Definitely, El Gran Poder displays the joyful soul o La Paz, the warmth of its people, and the cultural prism that is Bolivia.