Ch'utillos, the Festival of San Bartolomé and San Ignacio de Loyola, the meeting of cultures in Potosí


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Inscribed in 2023 (18.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

© Marcelino Mamani Mamani / Secretary of Culture and Tourism, 2022

Ch’utillos, or the Festival of San Bartolomé and San Ignacio de Loyola, is celebrated in Potosí, Bolivia in the month of August. An integral part of the local cultural identity, the festival is characterised by gastronomic fairs, dance performances and a procession to the sanctuary located in the Mullu Punku gorge, a natural site with rock formations. In the city, parishioners and musical groups take part in the Autochthonous and Folkloric Dancing Parade of Ch’utillos and are joined by rural communities wearing traditional clothing. Some travel up to 200 kilometres to reach Potosí, from towns bordering Argentina, contributing their traditions and oral expressions to the dancing parade. Dance groups from other Latin American countries also join the festivities, transforming the streets of Potosí into a platform for cultural exchange. Other bearers include the people who make the traditional musical instruments, clothing, accessories, and dishes. The knowledge and skills of Ch’utillos are transmitted informally, through oral instruction and participation in the festivities. A symbol of faith and tradition, the Ch’utillos festival is part of the cultural heritage of the indigenous Q’ara Q’aras nation, marking the beginning of the preparation of the land and a new agricultural cycle, with offerings to Pachamama (Mother Earth).