Cholitas: Wrestling Bolivian ladies

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It is exactly what do you think. Bolivian ladies dressed up in traditional clothing, bowler hat and all, wrestling on a stage with screaming crowd around WWF style. But why? Well, that is a new tradition in Bolivia to entertain not only tourist but famous within local community as well.

Who are Cholitas?

Cholitas come from the countryside of Bolivia, but big cities like La Paz are no exception. Cholitas like to dress up with colourful traditional skirts, blouse, nice bowler hat and hair extension made of wool or cotton.

All the items have their purpose in each Cholita’s wardrobe. The skirt needs to be just below the calves as this part of the women is consider to be the sexiest. If a Cholita is interested in a man, she will lift the skirt up just a little and show to her future lover her big, juicy, brown calf muscle. Sounds weird? Well, different culture = different tradition. Cholitas are considered to be beautiful if they are strong, which means a heavier body. And they are very strong. It is not unusual to see a Cholita carrying a child on her back, a sack of potatoes in one hand and the other bags of vegetables.

Also the hair is an important piece in the Cholitas beauty, and is also a symbol of wisdom. The longer the better, that’s why they use hair extensions made of different fabrics.

The Bowler hat is an unforgettable item for each Cholita and one of the first things that stands out when arriving in Bolivia. They represent not only a style but also their relationship status. If the hat is worn straight, the Cholita is in a happy relationship. If the hat is worn on a side, she is open to mingle, and if the hat sits on the back of her head, it’s complicated.

But where do those bowler hats come from?

Cholitas, Bolivia

Cholitas, Bolivia

Cholitas, Bolivia

The story goes back around a hundred years, two English brothers had a whole shipment of hats made in Bolivia, though the factory made them too small. Instead of letting them go to waste they came up with a story to sell them to the local ladies, convincing them that the hats are the current fashion trend for woman all over Europe. The Cholitas were kind of sceptic as these hats were still small for them, but the English gentlemen persuaded them that they should sit up on top of their heads. Now, a hundred years later, Cholitas are still wearing bowler hats and these hats are now produced in Bolivia as a major fashion item.