Festivals in La Paz — A fun and family friendly way to learn about local tradition and culture
Festivals have always been a way for people to commemorate special events, celebrate tradition, history, culture and art. In Baja, festivities with long tradition — as well as newer ones — happen year-round. For a chance to experience first-hand the culture of the region and really get to know the people, check out some of the festivals in La Paz and find out what this friendly city has to offer!
The biggest festival held in La Paz is Fiestas de Fundacion (Foundation of La Paz Festival), a week long cultural event to commemorate the arrival to the city of Hernan Cortes on May 3rd, 1535. For this occasion the state and city governments organize free concerts, art exhibits, traditional dances, film screenings and recently a cultural “tianguis” (a street market) that showcases local arts and crafts, native products and the works of local artists. The activities develop around the historic center of La Paz during the first week in May.
Within the Fiestas de Fundacion, a most recent festival was born and it is rapidly becoming popular. The Gastronomic Festival “The taste for la Paz” started three years ago as a forum to showcase the flavors of La Paz and the creations of the culinary school. For this festival more than 60 restaurants and the staff and students of the school offer the visitors a sample of their tasty creations. With the beautiful Coromuel beach as a backdrop, the fiesta-goers enjoy food and performances from renowned musicians. The ticket proceedings go to help the city orphanage and the elderly house.
The Carnaval is a popular party that closes the streets of the Malecon preceding the observance of Lent. It symbolizes the last chance to let it all out and enjoy the carnal pleasures before the religious period of abstinence and spirituality. La Paz has celebrated Carnaval since 1888 and for many years it was a private party of the wealthy. After a few decades the event became popular and was open to all.
Nowadays, Carnaval starts with the burning of the “mal humor” (bad mood) a life-sized papier-mâché man that usually represents a famous character from politics, singers or historic relevance. A satiric and humorous poem is read in honor of the character before the character is ignited. Follow by the coronation of the King and Queen, the streets fill with vendors, music performers on multiple stages, fair rides and then the party continues well into the early dawn hours. During the evening, a parade goes along the Malecon and floats compete for the first prize. This display of elaborate costumes, floats, masks, music, and dancers is a great family oriented activity.
The Day of the Dead Festival in La Paz has become a well organized display of a Mexican tradition that has its roots in pre- Hispanic times. Sip some Mexican hot cocoa, enjoy some “pan de muerto” and poetry recitals while you admired the altar contest held in the City theater esplanade on November the 2nd.
The International Festival of Art and Culture for La Paz (Peace) was organized for the first time in March of 2007 to celebrate indigenous cultures around the world and Peace. Each year, a country is showcased and represented through dance, visual arts and theater.
Want to find out more about where to stay when you visit festivals in La Paz?
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