The Tuesday after Carnaval goes by several names: Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras and, in Bolivia, Challa. The day offers one last chance of Carnaval celebrations before the onset of Lent. The main celebration of the day is that of “Martes de Challa”.
The celebration of Martes de Challa, or Challa Tuesday, is a tradition from Andean Bolivia in which homage is paid to Pachamama (Mother Earth). The word Challa itself comes from the name of a toast to Pachamama where the first sip of a drink is offered to Pachamama by pouring on the ground, before the rest is drank.
The day sees parades highlighting Andean traditions and music. Observers of Martes de Challa enjoy the traditional drink of chicha and eat candied peanuts, and almonds.
On Martes de Challa families hold barbecues throughout Sucre, burning incense and small blocks representing money and other things the families wish to be blessed with in the coming year. Small amounts of drinks are often poured on the four corners of the barbecue to ward off evil spirits.
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