The Feria de Alasitas (Alasitas Fair) opened in La Paz, Bolivia, on Saturday (24 January) reviving the ancient tradition of celebrating the festival of good luck.
GV & SV Crowd around stalls and sign "Alasita 1976"
CU Bolivian woman and child
GV PULL BACK FROM Waiting people TO armed police
CU Bolivian woman waiting for 12 o'clock
CU Crowd with boy holding up armadillo
SV & CU Armed police controlling crowd as they surge forward (2 shots)
TV & CU Crowd around stall buying model houses and lorries (4 shots)
CU People making purchases
CU Man with china pig under arm
SV People carrying purchases away
GV EXT Cathedral
SV People leaving cathedral after having purchases blessed (2 shots)
Initials BB/1905 GB/MR/BB/1930
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Background: The Feria de Alasitas (Alasitas Fair) opened in La Paz, Bolivia, on Saturday (24 January) reviving the ancient tradition of celebrating the festival of good luck.
The fair started during the eighteenth century while Bolivia was under Spanish rule.
The natives would celebrate the fair by offering miniature gifts to the idol of Fetiche.
Fetiche was supposed to be the god of good luck. People would offer the idol model oxen hoping that Fetiche would bring them real oxen during the coming year.
Food offers were donated in the hope of a good harvest and the idol was also decorated with all forms of miniature clothing.
The Spaniards suspended the celebrations -- regarding them as subversive.
They were re-instituted in 1782 but the devotion was directed at "Nuestra Senora de La Paz (Virgin of La Paz).
Now, although the tradition continues, the methods of celebrations have changed.
People invade the Alasitas Fair to buy the appropriate objects for the appropriate profession .. like suitcases for travellers and cattle for farmers.
Each purchase should be made on the stroke of noon if it is to bring good luck, and many insure this by taking their gifts to La Paz's main cathedral to have them blessed.
SYNOPSIS: The Feria de Alasitas, 1976 in La Paz, Bolivia, on Saturday ... representing yet another celebration of the festival that has been held since the early eighteenth century.
Alasitas is the festival of good luck. It started with natives bringing miniature models of goods and cattle to the idol of Fetiche, hoping that Fetiche would replace the models with the real things. The Spaniards, who then ruled Bolivia, eventually prohibited the festival. However, it was revived in 1782 but the devotion was then directed at the "Virgin of La Paz".
Some of the old traditions still remain today. Now people flock to the fair to buy appropriate gifts like suitcases for travellers and cattle for farmers. They also buy models of things like houses and cars in the hope that good luck will bring them the real possessions during the coming year.
People try and make their purchases on the stroke of noon and their dreams range from farm animals to limousines. The fair also attracts many tourists...and they are not immune to the beliefs of the locals, making many purchases themselves.
Some of the locals believed in making sure of their luck.
They take their purchases to La Paz's main cathedral to have them blessed by the priests. Then, they believe, their wishes must come true.