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Luis Guereca writes for Los Tiempos:
Christmas traditions in spite of the influence of Andean traditions are still preserved in some municipalities of the upper Valley [Cochabamba].
Christmas traditions are maintained in municipalities
It [Christmas] is celebrated in the towns of the upper Valley with fritters [buñuelos], chocolate and gifts, Christmas carols are also performed in churches, midnight mass [rooster mass] and build Nativity scenes and Christmas trees in the squares [plazas].
Historically the Christmas “in our valleys it was a feast of great concurrency, where radiated faith, because it was a sign of brotherhood, then had to extol the hearts, there were roosters mass, food and bands”, said Wilfredo Camacho socio-cultural researcher.
Tarata municipality “has a population that is predominantly Catholic, and that is reflected in religious faith we have. For carols performed on December 24 and 25 attended by about 1,000 people,”said the guide in the direction of tourism of Tarata, Mario Gonzales.
In the high Valley “Christmas is not lived with great intensity by the revaluation of the undertaken Andean culture policy, but yes is held in the parishes where is the mass of gallo [rooster mass] and at 12 o’clock [midnight] is celebrated with band and carols in the plazas”, said Camacho.
“In the Church they dance and sing Christmas carols throughout the week, from Monday 17 to Friday 21 and young people do dance party where, with the money raised, buy gifts, and Friday 21 are also prepared fritters and chocolate milk”, indicate the neighbors of the Municipal Council at Arbieto.
“They must recover the festivities and celebrations, not only the Christian Party, but also from the cultural side and thus revaluate the Christmas of yesteryear,” said Camacho.
Also “is carried out the mass of Roosters in Tarata, after midnight, and refers to the birth of Christ, with stories and parables where not only are the inhabitants of this municipality who attend but from other provinces such as Punata, Cliza and Arani,” said Gonzales.
“If we think back, the parishes were the points where radiated faith and still remain these centers because it is where the roots of Christianity and spirituality is maintained, but today there are two aspects that are merging, the colonial part, and the Andean”, explained the researcher.
“On Monday 24 and Tuesday 25 December come clowns, they prepare milk, api and deliver gifts, also perform functions of cinema”, said residents of Arbieto Council.
The children “were given chocolate, doughnuts, ‘jigote’, but with the new cultural policy this is lost gradually, because there is no spiritual exuberance, but still there are reservoirs in the high Valley where traditions are kept, especially in the Southern Cone. In Totora remains deep faith”, said Camacho.
On the other hand, “there are many Christians who are reluctant to lose their traditions, despite the influence of the Andean culture,” said the researcher.
In the Arbieto plaza “place a Christmas tree with light bulbs, lights and a manger where is the birth of the baby Jesus”, indicate the residents of this municipality.
“STILL CAROLINGS ARE SUNG”
Wilfredo Camacho. Socio-cultural researcher
“The families made fritters”
“Before cities celebrated Christmas with the purpose to strengthen the members of the family, as well as improve friendship and relations with neighbors where took them ‘buñuelos’, and this was a way to deepen the friendship and forgiveness, because sometimes could arise some fights.”
It is important to indicate that the commercial and mercantilist part of Christmas has relegated in a certain way the spiritual part, because today emphasizes the material part, relegating the values of brotherhood”.
Mario Gonzales. Guide of Tarata
“In the Church chants were sung”
“The Tarata municipality will perform a skit where children dress like baby Jesus, Joseph, Maria and other characters where they make an allusion to the Christmas representation”, said the guide the direction for tourism in this municipality.
“In the Temple of San Jose there is a place where Gregorian style chants were performed, and there is also a small piano of French origin, who was played to celebrate masses and all activity, even to celebrate Christmas”.