Category: Fiestas

Festival and Massacre

Festivals are privileged spaces to help us understand the meaning of community. They are a special way of presenting historical narratives, bringing…

Fiesta and Identity

English + Español
In Barranquilla the days of Carnival begin early. From the first hours of the day—already confused with the last hours of the night—the smells of celebration are in the air. The streets…

Fiestas: Editor’s Letter

At the Oruro Carnival, a few hours from La Paz, the heavy-set blue-skirted women swirl past me in a dizzying burst of color and enviable grace. The trumpeters, some with exotically dyed hair, blare not too far behind. I remember that as a young man President Evo Morales had been a trumpeter in this very carnival.

Fiestas Madriguayas

English + Español
I’m writing this story from the neighborhood of Barrio Sur in Montevideo, Uruguay. The lively pulse of the candombe drum reaches me from the streets. This Afro-Uruguayan rhythm…

Bolivians in Argentina

English + Español
In 2007, while living in Brazil, I decided to take a short trip to Argentina to attend the Festival of Independent Film (BAFICI) held every April in Buenos Aires. I looked forward to …

The Fiestas de San Pacho

The Fiestas de San Pacho (St. Francis of Assisi) in Quibdó, El Chocó, Colombia, are sixteen days of barrio-based parades and religious observations (and, in fact, less well-known activities…

Colombian Devils

The devils from Europe and Africa arrived in Colombia and as soon as they encountered the indigenous devils, they happily got together to amuse themselves. They take advantage of any…

Whose Skin Is This, Anyway?

An African-American dresses as a Plains Indian, as if seen through the lens of Fellini, while Andean natives wear white masks and carry whips, pretending to be colonial overseers. Whites…

São João in Campina Grande

Campina Grande, deep into the state of Paraíba in Northeast Brazil, is not a common tourist destination. Except, that is, for the month of June, when fans…

Proud to be Bolivian

There was a time in Buenos Aires when Bolivians were often victims of hate crimes. They huddled in their working-class neighborhoods, hoping they might…

Pleasure is Power

I was a little late to the parade called La Invasión (the invasion)—the largest street parade in the conga tradition of Santiago, Cuba. Then I heard this simple…

Patsa Puqun

It was a chilly predawn morning in 1984. I enthusiastically joined my Quechua-speaking host family going to their field at the base of one of Peru’s highest…

Masked Enigmas

The brilliantly colored and captivatingly grotesque mask of the Vejigante remains enigmatic. The name derives from the Spanish vejiga or…

La Conga

I was trying desperately to sleep, but it was too cold. It was July in Cuba, but the air conditioning on the cross-country Viazul bus had two settings—“freezing” and…

This Isn’t Your Grandmother’s Vodou

Julmis Pierre, the head Vodou priest of Cité Soleil, awaits clients in his 15’ by 15’ cement cube of an office on Rue Audain in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. His slight frame…

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