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24th edition


Funding provided in part by a grant from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, through an appropriation by the Rhode Island General Assembly, a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and private funders.

Saturday, August 10, 2013:      
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM Solemn Mass at St. Patrick's Church, 244 Smith St., Providence, RI 02908.
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM Procession and Folkloric Parade, leaves St. Patrick's Church and arrives at Bank of America City Center, 2 Kennedy Plaza, Providence, RI 02903.
3:30 PM - 9:00 PM Folkloric Dance Performances at Bank of America City Center.
Sunday, August 11, 2013:      
2:00 PM - 6:00 PM Folkloric Dance Performances at Bank of America City Center.

In 1990, a couple of Bolivian families residents in Rhode Island, hosted a celebration at the gymnasium of Saint Patrick's Church in Providence, in honor of our Lady of Urkupina. Over the years, the financial and coordination responsabilities of putting together this celebration were transferred from one family to another, the organizing families are called "Pasantes." Over time, this celebration grew in size and folkloric dance groups, and musical group performances became part of the festivities. In subsequent years, the event further developed into a closer representation of its original in Bolivia with the addition of food vendors and a colorful parade of hundreds of dancers through the streets of Providence.

The festivity's growth demanded the creation of an organizing entity to share responsibilities with the Pasantes. Thus, the Asociacion Boliviana Virgen de Urkupina was incepted in 1996. This organization seeked funding and coordinated the major components of the festivities. Ten years later, this association siezed its operations and a new organization was born, the Rhode Island Bolivian-American Association (RIBAA). This new organization had a renewed vision and took over the organization and coordination of the Urkupina festivities. Focusing on the richness of Bolivian culture and its artistic creativity, this festival was brought to Downtown Providence and partnerships have been developed with WaterFire to further intergrate both events and showcase Bolivian culture to new audiences.

In Cochabamba, Bolivia, this is a well known festivity that brings together Bolivians from all over the country and even from other countries. In the nearby town of Quillacollo the festivity of Urkupina is a celebration in honor of the Virgin Mary, but also in honor of the "pachamama" or mother earth. Like many religious festivities in Bolivia, it has sincretist characteristics where catholicism mixes with the ancient Andean religions and other modern elements, producing quite a unique reality.

This festivity goes on for three days, in which there is a folklore entrance which is a 6 kilometer parade with many typical dances and a day called "the calvary" where people extract stones from a hill called "cerro de Qota", these symbolize wishes for money and other material goods, but only if these rocks are returned the following year.

If you wish to participate as a performer, food vendor, artist, sponsor, volunteer, or in any other way, please contact us at the following:
Email Address:
Postal Mailing Address: RIBAA
P.O. Box 114329
North Providence, RI 02911