Folklore: Identity and traditions
Bolivia is rich of traditions, habits and ancestral beliefs directly inherited from a tormented history between the glorious Tiahuanaco civilizations and Incas and the Spanish conquest. Carnival and parades which animate all the country bring together the principal protagonists of the Bolivian history: Incas, conquistadors, Bolivian slaves who sacrified their lives in the mines of their Spanish Masters, divinities and demons.
Rites and religion
The harmonious relation between the Indian population and the Mother Nature is still very present in the handycraft industry, the musical folklore, and the religion. In spite of the christianization imposed by the Spaniards, the worship dedicated to the natural divinities influences the daily life of the Indian community on the altiplano.
Bolivians have a great respect and veneration of Pachamama, goddess of the Earth. In her honor, offerings (challa) of small object with symbolic value are deposited or burned in the medium of incantations and prayers; There are lots of rituals dedicated to Pachamama: for example, the construction of a new house must be preceded by a small blessing ceremony which includes the burial of a llama foetus. Another common ritual is before swallowing glass of beer or brandy, one must honour Pachamama while pouring a few drops on the ground (no matter whether you are outside or inside the house!).
Thank you Pachamama! During the popular festivals in the countryside, it is of habit of drinking straight glasses of beer and pure alcohol each time a person invites you. Refusing to drink can be interpreted as an offence and may degenerate into quarrels. To avoid the worse hangover of your life, it is recommended to be be very generous with Pachamama by emptying on the ground a great quantity of alcohol for each glass.