The Bolivia Reader: History, Culture, Politics
The Festival of Gran Poder (Great Power) involves the participation of more than fifty fraternities representing more than thirty thousand dancers from popular urban groups, middle-class sectors, and wealthy Aymara residents of the city of La Paz. The festival emerged in its current form in the 1970s, although the popular neighborhood of Chijini has celebrated a fiesta in honor of the Christ of Gran Poder since 1927. Today the festival is a grand display of social, economic, and cultural power. It takes over the principal thoroughfares of the city, involves a million dollars worth of economic activity, and celebrates the prestige of the fraternities which perform their religious devotion through dance. The invitations that the fraternities issue offer striking expressions of collective cultural identity that change with the times. The preferred style in recent years is a movie-format dvd, with a click-to-view menu for the invitation.