Indigenous Bolivians welcome Aymara New Year in dawn ceremony

Wed Jun 22, 2016 3:21pm EDT
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Hundreds of indigenous Bolivians raised their hands to the sun rising over the Cordillera Real mountain range and danced to music around a blazing fire to usher in the Aymara New Year.

The celebration on the Bolivian side of Lake Titicaca included offerings to Pachamama, or mother earth, for a bountiful crop.

Indigenous Bolivians believe the father of the sun gives warmth to the Earth on the New Year, heralding the onset of spring.

"People have come to ask the sun god to bless them and give them strength and to ask for everything to go well in their homes and work," said Samanta Quenta, explaining the significance of the event.

About 2 million Bolivians trace their heritage totally or partially to the Aymara.