Public holidays are typically carried out with great pomp and circumstance in Bolivia. Everything closes down. No one works, no one goes to school, there are no banks, and even public transportation may be hard to find.
Families and friends gather, long-weekends “somewhere else” and grand events are planned, special typical foods are prepared, new dresses are fitted, hair salons brim over, and long parades and dancers fill the streets.
A holiday is not just a day off! No no! Something truly grandiose must take place or it just wouldn’t be a holiday, would it? So is the mentality here in Bolivia, where preparations are made far in advance. The following public holidays are observed throughout Bolivia:
1 January. Año Nuevo.
New Year’s Day
22 January. Plurinational State Foundation Day.
Carnival in Bolivia.
Carnaval in Oruro
March/April Semana Santa (Pascua).
Día del Trabajo.
May/June Corpus Christi (English). Corpus Christi (Español)
21 June Aymara New Year (English). Año Nuevo Aymara (Español)
6 August. Día de la Independencia. Independence Day.
12 October. Día de la Raza. Columbus Day.
1 November. Todos Santos All Saints Day and Day of the Dead (Nov. 2)
25 December. Navidad.
Each of Bolivia’s nine departments has its own holiday, usually to commemorate the day on which the capital city of each department was founded or another important event took place in that department.
Santa Cruz 24 September
Pando 24 September
Beni 18 November
Tarija 15 April
Chuquisaca 25 May
Cochabamba 14 September
Potosí 1 April
Oruro 22 February
La Paz 16 July