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  • An indigenous leader prepares an offering from a group of drivers to give thanks and ask for good fortune to the Pachamama (Mother Earth), according to the Andean culture, in El Alto outskirts in La Paz

    An indigenous leader prepares an offering from a group of drivers to give thanks and ask for good fortune to the Pachamama (Mother Earth), according to the Andean culture, in El Alto outskirts in La Paz | Photo: Reuters

Published 1 August 2018

Pachamama is the highest divinity of the Aymara and Quechua peoples, the protector goddess of all material things.

High atop the Andes, indigenous Bolivians held a traditional sacrifice to honor Pachamama, the goddess of the earth and fertility, Wednesday, the Day of Mother Earth.

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Believers rise at dawn to burn their offerings and ask Mother Earth for blessings. In Bolivia's traditionally agricultural society, farmers offer up vegetables, fruits, and animals from their farms, believing that Pachamama will bless them with good crops and wealth. The celebration is held across the North of Argentina and Chile through Peru and Bolivia.

Legend has it that the fire will transport the sacrifices straight to Pachamama, who is exhausted after providing for humanity.

Women choose coca leaves for an offering ceremony to give thanks and ask for good fortune to the Pachamama (Mother Earth), according to the Andean culture in El Alto. Reuters/David Mercado

These rituals have been celebrated in Bolivia for centuries in indigenous communities, although they have been adapted through time and currently they are performed in cities and even public institutions. In cities, people celebrate the so-called 'coachadas' or petitions to Mother Earth to bless vehicles, homes or businesses and ask for health, money, and goods.

People raise their hands during an offering ceremony to the Pachamama (Mother Earth) on the first day of August to, give thanks and ask for good fortune according to the Andean culture, in El Alto outskirts in La Paz, Bolivia. Reuters/David Mercado

While August 1 is the preferred day for the offerings, the ceremony is performed throughout the month of August, when the first agricultural season ends in the Andean world. According to indigenous communities, it is this time of year when Mother Earth 'opens her mouth' in hopes of being venerated with offerings that pay back the fruits she has given and those she will give in the future.

Pachamama is the highest divinity of the Aymara and Quechua peoples, the protector goddess of all material things.

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