Gran Poder: a colourful festival

Gran Poder book cover

It is difficult to imagine a cultural event such as the festival represented in this book if one has not previously witnessed a similar  Andean religious/folkloric manifestation. What catches the eye is the abundance of vivid colour as the groups dance their way down from the streets on the hillside  to the commercial centre of the city of La Paz in an organised and relentless fashion, singing to the sound of wind instruments, cymbals and large bass drums. The parade begins early in the morning, at about 6:30 with the votive offering to the Ancestors to end past midnight. There were about 40,000 participants representing 16 types of dances when I witnessed this event.

The origin of the celebration of Jesus of The Great Power dates back to December 8, 1663, with the foundation of the convent of the Immaculate Conception and sister Genoveva Carrión who brought the image of the three-faced Jesus representing the Holy Trinity. Interestingly enough Pope Benedict VI banned this image in the XVIII century.

There is much to be said about this cultural event: the modality of Andean faith,  community spirit, the Ayllu concept, etc. etc.  but perhaps this is not the place to expand.

This e-book can be found at: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/47368164/granpoder/index.html (the reader might take a little time to load…. please be patient)

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