The Yampara
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The Yampara

Farmers and artisans

Farmers and artisans

Experience stunning festivals full of dance, music, color, and costumes as you delve into the culture of these South American warriors.

The Yampara are a social-political group spanning across a number of towns. Established before the Spanish colonization and the main ethnic group within Bolivia, they’re now rebuilding their ancestral originality.
Snapshot

Snapshot

  • Region is South America

  • Climate here is Mild

  • The challenge here is Medium

  • This trip has been rated 5 by other travelers

Life

Life

Traditionally the Yampara were known as ‘warriors with bows and arrows’ although most members today are farmers. The Yampara are a large community which have divided into different groups, each with their own culture, language, and characteristics.
Home

Home

Typical Yampara homes are built in a rectangular shape. Stones are laid as the foundation and lower part of the wall for stability and then bricks made out of earth build up the main structure. The roofs are often thatched or tiled.

Culture

Social Structure

The Yampara community is organized by the ayllu system, which dates back thousands of years. This is a group of indigigenous communities that are unified politically, geographically, and ethnically. Today this basic system is still followed by some groups who want to preserve their original socio-political views. To manage community laws there is an administration of justice in each territory. The Jatun Juraja and Paqtachaymanta Kuraka are the original authorities which include senior members and former authority officials.

Religion

The traditional belief was the worship of ancestors and nature. Today religion is diverse with many of the Yampara community converting to Chisitanity after the Spanish colonization.

Traditions

Dance and music are learned from an early age through watching performances and games, rather than being taught by adults. For big celebrations, such as Pullay and Avarichi, the large community network comes together to provide a feast of food and drink for everyone. For these occasions the women weave detailed costumes. The Yampara are also known for their traditional drink called Chicha which is sold in local shops called Chicherias.

Language

Quechua and Aymara are the main languages spoken, however they also speak Spanish. The Yampara once spoke Pukina but this language is now extinct.

Art

The Yampara are skilled in crafts and well-known for textiles and ceramics. They use strong, bold colored llama wool to create intricate patterns—the design and colors used are often unique to their group. Dance and music are an important aspect of community life and mostly performed at celebrations.

Celebrations

There are two main events important in the Yampara calendar. Both events relate to the seasons, one to celebrate the dry season and one to celebrate the wet season:

Pullay: This stunning annual cultural festival happens on the third Sunday in March to celebrate the renewal of life thanks to the rainy season. The Quechua word ‘Pullay’ means ‘game’ and celebrations centre around men performing music and dance, dressed in costume to summon Tata Pujllay, an energetic demonlike being.

Ayarichi: In this celebration of the dry season, the Yampara community dedicates dances to Catholic saints. The Yampara believe these saints control what happens socially and cosmically, as well as the preservation of life.
Further knowledge

Further knowledge

Since 2014 the Pujllay festival has been recognized and protected by the UnescoIntangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.



Photo credit: Salar de Uyuni
iStock.com/Starcevic

Photo credit: Yampara Man
iStock.com/LAURA FACCHINI

Photo Credit: Yampara woman
iStock.com/urosr

Photo credit: Yampara hat and weavings
iStock.com/LAURA FACCHINI

Photo credit: Bolivia houses
iStock.com/gcoles