There is nothing that symbolizes La Paz, Bolivia more than the "cholita." Cholitas are the indigenous Aymara ladies who dress in the traditional style of big skirts called polleras, shawls, pigtails and the iconic bowler hat. The word "Cholo/chola" (cholita is diminutive) stems from a derogatory term used by the people with Spanish ancestry when referring to the Indians. Racism in the country still exists, but it is slowly changing. The Cholita has become an iconic image representing all of Bolivia.
Street art homages to the Cholita:
If you are wondering how the British male Bowler hat ended up perched atop Bolivia ladies' heads, the most common story told is that in the 1920's a shipment of the hats arrived to Bolivia for the European railroad workers. These hats were too small for the men's domes but one entrepreneur sold them to the locals and a tradition was born. Hats vary by height, brim widths and colors. Every year new styles dominate the Cholita fashion scene.
|The Bowler hat|
|A help wanted sign. Usually in Spanish they will use a term like "senorita, young lady, waitress, etc." but in La Paz "cholita" works fine.|
Wrestlemania - Cholita Style
|View of La Paz from El Alto|
|Outside the wrestling arena|
|Really Catman? The first match|
|Her grand entrance in tradional clothing|
The final bout features another star of the ring who has brought along her cholita friend - who happens to be a midget. The little lady does not fight but she seems quite adept and head-butting men in the groin. Of course the leading lady wins the bout taking out both her opponent and the evil ref.
|Talking trash before the fight: Lady in yellow is the villain while the one is red is the darling|
|A masked luchador watching the entrance of his Cholita opponent|
|About to toss her male opponent into the crowd|
|and then beat him with an empty water bottle|
|The star of the main event dancing before the match|
|High flying act|
|Cholita wrestler in training|
|Cholitas fighting for their rights by marching on the streets of La Paz|