The Gran Poder Festival is celebrated with an amazing folkloric demonstration to honor the "Jesus del Gran Poder" image situated in Antonio Gallardo Street church, an act of devotion and gratitude for the miracles and blessings received.
Along the years the festival grew in popularity, reaching international importance. The "greatest Andean festivity" gathers approximately 30000 dancers of 60 folkloric dance groups, which dance along a 6 kilometer route inside La Paz city.
The festival takes place between the months of May and June. Dances like the Morenada, The Diablada, Caporales, Tinkus, Pujllay, Potolos, Waca Tokoris take over La Paz city streets and avenues. Sicuri and Tarqueada groups joined by authentic sounds make amazing displays of colorful costumes and traditional choreographies to honor the patron saint.
The Gran Poder folkloric entrance follows a specific route starting at Garita de Lima square(departure point), continuing along Tumusla Avenue, Buenos Aires Avenue, Pedro de la Gasca street until Los Andes corner. From there it follows the Vicente Ochoa street till Antonio Gallardo street where the "Jesus del Gran Poder" Sanctuary is located.
The Dancers will continue along Sebastian Segurola street until the Gran Poder Square and then take the traditional Sagarnaga street and Illampu street until Eguino Square. The route continues along Pando Avenue, Ismael Montes street, Av. Mariscal Andres de Santa Cruz Avenue, the well known Av. 16 de Julio Avenue (The Prado), Buenaventura street to end at Simon Bolivar Avenue.
The Gran Poder Festival celebration has three important stages defined by different activities related to the main celebration:
Before the folkloric entrance, several parties take place for three days inside the community to honor the patron saint with masses, music, drinks and food. The main characteristic is the presence of the preste or a person according to tradition that pays for the entire party. Each person of respect and prestige in the community takes his turn to be the preste.
The Ch'alla is the gratitude ritual to the Pachamama (mother earth) for the crops and fruits received. During the ritual the community members prepare offerings and provide the earth with beverages that are poured on the floor.
Finally, the Promise takes place on the same day of the "Jesus del Gran Poder" religious anniversary. The dancers and the community ask favors with the promise of participation as dancers or prestes.
Later, the burning of the ceremonial table will be performed as an offering to ensure the safety and health of the participants in the present festivity and in future days.
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