Updated 1 month, 2 weeks ago

The rain feast: an Aymara measure

The Aymaras - one of the two major ethnic groups in the country, together with the Quechua - communicate with the 'apus', their divinities that inhabit the mountains. In their traditional and multicolored clothes, they are concentrated in El Alto, at 4,000 meters above sea level, on the same border with the capital La Paz, seat of government.

The natives, as every year in November, had the "jallupacha", the feast of rain. 2017, with the drought, made it more than special.

The holiday is "to receive rain, to give water throughout the country," Wilfredo Murga, a member of the Ayllus National Council (communities), who led the ritual, told AFP.

Another indigenous wows a sea shell as part of the party, and a group of women and men build a pyre on wood to incinerate sweets, herbs, seeds and roots.

As the ritual progresses, fire consumes the products, and the Aymara women hold their branches in their hands and move them in a circular manner, with prayers on their tongue.

In addition, Murga explained that they brought water in earthenware vessels, from sacred places on the snowy mountain Illimani (6,400 masl), south of La Paz, and the coca-growing regions of the Yungas, on the slopes of the Eastern Cordillera of the Andes.

"We have brought the water flower," Murga explained, referring to the water transferred from its religious sites to El Alto for the occasion.

Almost at the end of the ritual, a shaman delivers water in small clay cups and sprinkles the liquid on the heads of the attendants. To seal the desire, they give each other hugs.

Then they perform dances, accompanied by the sound of a few quenas (native instruments of wind), to close with apthapi or common food, in which they share cassava, potato, beans, fried cheese, banana, Cooked, with some chicken and 'charqui' (dehydrated meat).

The food is placed in colorful Aymara blankets, on the floor, where each raises the portion he wants.

As a result of the drought, President Evo Morales last week declared a national emergency and ordered the mobilization of the military and police to supply water to the affected areas by tanker trucks, while piped supplies to households are carried out by Some hours, every three days.

La Paz, site of the Executive and Legislative branches, has almost half of its 800,000 inhabitants under rationed water.

But curiously indigenous culture took part of the possible solution from their knowledge and once again take a step to make their culture be well remember and appreciated.