The most important festival in La Paz is the annual festival Gran Poder. Gran Poder is a religious celebration and folk festival that takes over the main streets of La Paz in late May or early June. This is the biggest fiesta in La Paz with people from all over Bolivia- and all over the world- turn up to watch as thousands of brightly costumed dancers and lively bands perform throughout the day.
The Gran Poder is the most lively celebration in the exciting city of La Paz. For almost 12 hours choreographed dances, thrilling live music, skits and vendors filled the streets of La Paz creating an amazing, one-of-a-kind celebration and parade. The Gran Poder is a can’t miss celebration in Bolivia.
The festival Gran Poder, which translates as “Great Power” is a celebration of Jesus Christ.
The Gran Poder first began in the 1920s and has grown nearly every year into a city-wide celebration of dance and music. The festival is most famous for the ornate and intricate costumes that thousands of dancers don for the day.
Each year, more than 2,000 people create the costumes and masks that are worn during the Gran Poder. Work on these costumes begin on these costumes up to a year before the celebration kicks off.
The parade begins at Garita de Lima Square at the northern end of town around 9:00 am and continues through the streets of La Paz. The next twelve hours are full of choreographed dances, rowdy music, and acting performances.
By late afternoon the streets are crammed. Vendors hawk merchandise including snacks and keep sakes. In booths along the streets, participants can buy everything from balloons to ice cream to fried chicken to beer to umbrellas.
A near constant procession of costumed dancers and spirited musicians fill the street. Although the festival generally consists of a parade through La Paz, the parade moves slowly, in fits and starts.
The afternoon sun is typically strong and the parade tends to slow periodically to give the dancers and bands a chance to rest. During the breaks, performers are happy to take photographs with the audience members and tend to sharing cold beer and snacks.