Sucre (Agenzia Fides) - "Let us maintain biosecurity measures, carnival is arriving, but the pandemic continues. Everyone's responsibility is to take care of themselves and respect health measures. Carnival should not be the occasion for a new wave of this virus". This is the concern expressed in a video message by the Archbishop of Sucre, vice-president of the Bishops' Conference of Bolivia, Monsignor Ricardo Centellas.
According to official data, Bolivia today has a total of 887,000 cases of Covid-19, with 21,342 deaths, for a population of 11,470,000. Carnival is celebrated in Bolivia in different ways in the various regions, according to local customs and traditions. The most famous celebration in the world is the Carnival of Oruro (“Diablada”), which is also the biggest tourist attraction. The carnival there tells how the Spaniards conquered the Aymara and Quechua populations of the Andes, trying to convert the natives to Catholicism. Costumed dancers with weapons and horses are involved, usually drawing large crowds. The Bolivian carnival has been declared a masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity by Unesco. Carnival has no real beginning, but ends on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. In his message, the Archbishop of Sucre recalls that Lent is "a special time for reflection, recollection, meditation, to prepare ourselves to celebrate the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus". This preparation for Easter is above all personal, therefore at the level of the communities, "which will begin many activities: masses, way of the cross, time for the sacrament of reconciliation and for meditation on the Word of God, so that we can all prepare ourselves adequately to celebrate Easter". Even during this period, Monsignor Centellas invites people to "continue to follow the health indications, because the pandemic continues, and it is our responsibility to take care of ourselves and all others". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 17/2/2022)