Arts & Entertainment

Bolivia holds traditional dance parade with masks, Covid-19 tests

El Alto, Bolivia, July 16 (EFE).- A traditional folk dance parade in honor of the Virgen del Carmen was held in the Bolivian city of El Alto on Friday, with face-covered dancers getting tested for coronavirus amid a ban on alcohol.

It is the first “mini” parade held since the Covid-19 pandemic reached Bolivia in March 2020.

The parade is to honor the Virgen del Carmen, the patron saint of La Paz that celebrated 212 years of its freedom struggle against the Spanish crown.

Local authorities allowed around ten fraternities to participate in the parade, with up to 50 dancers in each.

Hundreds of performers in each group attend the procession usually.

City mayor Eva Copa imposed a “dry law” banning the sale and consumption of alcoholic drinks during the day.

Musicians and dancers were required to present a vaccination certificate and undergo Covid-19 tests before participating in the event.

The program began with a mass in the Santa Maria de Los Angeles parish church in El Alto, the twin city of La Paz, followed by a procession carrying the image of the Virgen del Carmen.

The streets in the parade path were closed and fumigated as people gathered to watch the dancers pass by.

Dancers dressed in striking folk dresses lined up at selected points to undergo the nasal antigen tests.

After midday, the fraternities began passing through the streets, performing traditional dances with their specific colorful dresses and pieces of jewelry on display.

“Despite the pandemic, we continue with our Bolivian traditions, dancing while being careful,” Dancer Lotrin Masias told EFE.

Masias admitted being a little afraid of participating despite the pandemic but insisted that she had taken all the necessary measures against infection.

Similarly, dancer Javier Arias said such festivals helped revive economic activities.

However, many spectators at the event were without masks as crowds also formed at some points.

After the dance procession had passed, the streets were cleared of people and fumigated again.

Bolivia is coming out of its third Covid-19 wave, although President Luis Arce’s government has warned of a possible fourth wave.

The country has so far registered 17,375 deaths and 459,579 cases of the disease.

Health workers have fully inoculated over 866,000 people against Covid-19. More than 2.5 million have received at least one dose, the health ministry data showed. EFE


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