Christmas season kicks off in La Paz with colorful parade of artisans

La Paz, Nov 26 (EFE).- Santa Claus, the grinch, the shepherds of Bethlehem and of the Bolivian Altiplano, snowmen and elves flooded the streets of the Bolivian city of La Paz on Friday to kick off the Christmas season in a joyful parade led by thousands of artisans and traders.

La Paz, the seat of the Bolivian government and parliament and usually the scene of blockades due to social conflicts, got some respite with the “Peace and Unity Christmas Caravan,” comprising artisans and traders who set up a Christmas fair in the Central Urban Park of La Paz at this time every year.

The parade is an invitation for people to visit them at the fair and buy Christmas trees, decorations and gifts, the general secretary of the Departmental Federation of Christmas Fairs Central Urban Center, Eloísa García, told Efe.

“We invite them to come, to take part. There will be color, there will be much joy. With this situation that we are experiencing, this pandemic has affected us a lot, but come to de-stress, here we are waiting for you with open hands, come to participate, to see the color of each sector,” García said.

Around 5,000 exhibitors across 55 sectors, including artisans and traders, taking part in the fair, joined the caravan, some with their families.

The caravan departed from Montes avenue in the north of the city and traveled through the main streets of the historic center of La Paz until reaching the fairground in the park.

Dressed as Santa Claus, reindeer, gifts, elves, candles, angels and soldiers of “The Nutcracker,” the craftsmen and traders paraded to the tunes of Christmas carols such as “El Burrito Sabanero” (The Little Donkey from the Savannah) and “Jingle Bells,” while others danced the traditional Andean villancicos accompanied by bands of native music.

Among the participants were several cholitas, La Paz’s iconic Aymaras, who combined their traditional skirts and bowler hats with elf and Santa Claus hats.

As they passed through the streets, the caravan’s participants distributed sweets and invited the public to visit them at the Christmas fair.

“We sell Christmas lights, a variety of sparkles, dolls (…) We invite everyone to come and we will give them affordable prices,” a seller, Graciela Llanos, dressed as a Christmas tree, said.

The event was sponsored by the mayor’s office, which has a series of holiday activities planned in December. EFE


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