LA PAZ – Bolivian President Evo Morales joined in the celebration Wednesday of “Willka Kuti” – the Sun’s return – in Orinoca, his hometown in the Andean region of Oruro, marking the start of the year 5525 in Aymara culture.
On the top of Cuchi Cuchi hill, Morales, Rural Development Minister Cesar Cocarico; Communications Minister Gisela Lopez; Cultures and Tourism Minister Wilma Alanoca; and other officials waited until sunrise to make offerings to “Pachamama” (Mother Earth).
After the ritual, Morales and other participants visited the Museum of the Democratic and Cultural Revolution, inaugurated in Orinoca last February and dedicated to telling the story of the president’s life and the political process he launched.
“We are here to welcome the first rays of the sun in this new Andean and Amazonian year, to obtain the strength, energy and ‘ajayu’ (soul) to keep on struggling and working for Bolivia,” Morales said in an address.
Morales asked “Tata Inti” (Father Sun) and Pachamama to provide “much wisdom, much unity and much strength for the benefit of everyone.”
A stage was built at the museum’s entrance for an “apthapi,” a shared communal meal that included the traditional dish in Morales’s hometown, a soup of cornmeal, beef, potatoes and “chuño” (dehydrated potato).
Ceremonies were performed at other sites considered sacred by indigenous people, including the pre-Columbian citadel of Tiahuanaco, a traditional center for celebrations on the Aymara new year.
Hundreds of people, including Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera and Foreign Minister Fernando Huanacuni, visited Tiahuanaco, located about 80 kilometers (59 miles) west of La Paz, to greet the first rays of the rising sun with raised palms.