Thousands of working class Bolivians crowd the streets of La Paz every year to buy miniature cars, houses and wads of fake dollar bills representing their dreams of wealth.
During the pre-Columbian tradition called the Alasitas festival, Bolivians buy tiny replicas of things they aspire to as they strive to improve their lives in South America's poorest nation.
The hopeful also buy statues of Ekeko, the Aymara god of abundance. He is often rendered as a short, pudgy, mustached man who wears traditional Andean clothes and carries baskets of grains. Tiny items, from kitchen appliances to college diplomas, are taken home and placed around Ekeko, who the Aymara people believe will bless them with better lives in the coming year.
"I faithfully believe in Ekeko. Thanks to him, I have everything I've asked for," said Bautista Acuna, a 44-year-old car-importer who attended the festival with his wife, carrying a statue of Ekeko.
"I asked for money, and I got it," he said. "I asked for a house, and I got it; I asked for a business, and I got it."
The Aymara word "alasita" means "buy me." The two-week festival begins every Jan. 24.
Text from the AP news story, AP Photos: Tiny objects, big dreams in Bolivia festival.
Photos by Juan Karita