Another tourist attraction are the different religious festivities celebrated in the zone; a mix of religious fervor, Christian customs and popular expressions with indigenous roots. Although the celebration that stands out the most is the one held in La Tirana every July 16th, there are over thirty celebrations in the zone that commemorate patron saints, the land or forefathers. Among them, we find:
– Patron celebration of San Juan de Cariquima: two days before the main festivity, preparations are devoted to the food. Authorities gather at night to ask for wellbeing from the patron for every night of the celebration.
Animal sacrifices are also part of the festivities. Known as wilacha, this part of the ceremony is only reserved for some, who slice the animal’s throat and spread its blood in an area especially conditioned for the ritual. It is followed by a series of rites: blessed candles are distributed, tables are set up in the town square, fires are lit and typical dances begin. On the day of the ceremony, a mass is held, which is performed in both Spanish and aimara. It all ends with a procession of the townspeople with images of Saint Juan and the Virgin.
– Patron Festivity of Nuestra Señora del Rosario de Mamiña: it takes place during the first two weeks of October. In said celebration, the townspeople share typical food (puchero, pataska, spicy rabbit, etc.) and enjoy the instrumental bands that arrive to the place. It is also called the wheel festivity, because men and women perform a curious way of celebrating: holding hands, they spin to the beat of the music until reaching the doors of the temple. When the wheel enters the houses f the area, it does so bearing blessings for the families.
– Festivity of the Holy Cross in Chapiquilta: the objective of this northern celebration is to worship the cross located atop La Escalera hill. It is held every April 30th. A few days earlier, a white llama is sacrificed and its blood is spread around the four corners of the square.
When the cross reached town, the procession advances through the streets until the square, where incense is burned, the community prays and the church rings its bells as a sign of welcoming.