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Our cultural beliefs

female tatawawa.jpg

Although it may sound strange for some people, but these days the graveyards in El Alto have been full of people, music, dance and hapiness. Each November 1st. we welcome to our dead relatives. The ancient belief says that, our ancestors come back November 1st. at middday and go back November 2nd.
To receive them we bake different types and shapes of bread. We bake a kind of bread called tantawawa, which represents one of our relatives. To represent a woman we put a small representation of the face of a woman and if it is a man, we use a representation of a man and the same for a child. Bread, fruit, flowers, sweets and ornaments are put on a table in order to receive our ancestors that arrive the first day of this month.
The next day, we collect all the things and take them to the graveyard. There, we put all the things again to share with people. Prayers come and after praying for our relatives, we give him or her a dish with bread, fruit, sweets.
Yesterday, I went to the graveyard. the belief says that all the things one prepares and carries to the graveyard should be shared with prayers called risiris. Generally, families stay at the graveyard for long hours. I was there for about six hours until all the things I took there were shared.




Lisa's picture

Nurturing bodies and souls


It sounds like a very healing day to be able to celebrate the lives and memories of your ancestors while sharing food and music. I would love to hear more about your work and hope all is well with you in El Alto.

Warmest wishes,


CristinaQuisbert's picture


It is said that long time ago, there was a process of ceremonies that lasted a month. Now, the celebration only lasts some days. This is very important because in this way we keep the link with our ancestors.

Kind regards,

sallyreb's picture

Thank you for sharing

Hi Christina,

Thank you for sharing your cultural beliefs and traditions here, with us. I love your description - "the graveyards in El Alto have been full of people, music, dance and hapiness" - it is so beautiful and full of life. I also appreciate that you posted pictures, it is nice to be able to see all that has been set up in the graveyard.

I look forward to your future journal entries.

All the best,

PulseWire Online Volunteer

CristinaQuisbert's picture

Thanks a lot

Thank you for your words. One of my hobbys is photography, so I will try to include other pictures in the next posts.

Kind regards,

Dave Alexander's picture

Very Beautiful

Hello Cristina,

Thank you for sharing with us your time of sacred rememberance. I wonder what it was like when it was a month-long practice. Do your stories inform us about the oldest ways?

In Friendship, Dave...

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
-- Mohandas K. Gandhi

CristinaQuisbert's picture

Hello Dave,

This Saturday there will be other ceremony which is part of what used to be practiced in ancient times. I will be sharing information about this too.

Kind regards,

jadefrank's picture

El Alto

Hola Cristina,

It's so interesting to learn about your culture and celebrations in Bolivia. It's so important to cherish and respect traditions, especially in a celebratory fashion.

It's wonderful to read your words and see your pictures as it reminds me of my own time spent in your beautiful and culturally rich country. I spent a month traveling through Bolivia in 2005 and it was an incredible experience that left quite an impression on me. I was moved by the beautiful landscape and more so by the colorful and generous people. I was especially moved by the strength of community and the vision for change of the indigenous people in Bolivia. There were protests every day I spent their, something you rarely see in America these days. I am encouraged by Bolivians' motivation to be heard. I think that the election of Evo Morales in Bolivia must have felt for your people similar to what blacks are feeling in America with the election of Barak Obama.

I am interested in reading more of your journal entries and seeing more of your pictures here on PulseWire.

Warm regards,

CristinaQuisbert's picture


After 182 years of Bolivia as a Republic, we elected the first indigenous President, Evo Morales. It is a very important moment in the history of Bolivia because indigenous peoples here is about 63%, We are living times of change. I think part of these world changes is the election of Barak Obama.
As you probably noticed when you were here, we have strong cultural beliefs which have been kept and practiced for hundreds of years going from parents to sons and daugthers and so on.

Kind regards,

Wendy's picture

Thank You


Thank you for sharing about your beautiful customs. It sounds like a very spiritual experience, and a lot of fun too! I look forward to hearing more about your ceremonies.

In Friendship,


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