Easter Food in Bolivia: 12 Meals for the 12 Apostles

During the week of Easter in Bolivia the culinary arts and religion come together to celebrate this Christian festivity with an unusual tradition: 12 different meals are cooked, one for each of the 12 apostles of Jesus. This is done in commemoration of the Lord's Last Supper.

Easter is celebrated throughout the week beginning on Palm Sunday and ending on Easter Sunday. It is a wonderful time to try some of Bolivia's typical dishes. What you will find, however, is that beef is absent from these meals. Bolivians do not eat red meat during Holy Week (Semana Santa). According to historian Antonio Paredes Candia, families and friends traditionally prepare and eat these dishes together.

Friends and relatives would meet around the "Maundy Thursday Table" to share the twelve traditional meals accompanied by a glass of sweet wine which represents the blood of Christ. Likewise, it is also a custom during this time to eat sweet breads made with "ajenjo" (wormwood, also known as absinth) for breakfast.

Cristina Olmos has created a wonderful blog filled with delicious Bolivian recipes (in Spanish) where you will find the photos, descriptions, ingredients and instructions for preparing some of the most traditonal Bolivian foods, including the 12 Meals for the 12 Apostles.


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