The devil dance and the seven deadly sins

The devil dance and the seven deadly sins

The devil dance and the seven deadly sins.

The struggle between good and evil is reflected in the dance of the devil, The Archangel Michael represents good and the devils who embody the seven deadly sins, represent evil and are defeated by the forces of good. This dance is inevitable in the different artistic and popular expressions since it is the maximum representation of Bolivian folklore.

La Diablada belongs to the most popular "masked" dances of the Bolivian highlands. It is interpreted at the beginning of the carnival or in the processions in honor of a saint by "fraternities", groups that incorporate - in some cases - several hundred participants. On the other hand, this dance is understood as "the victory of good over evil."

In the city of Oruro is where this dance is most enhanced, especially at the Carnival Entrance, where there are several institutions that wear the costumes of this dance along the route of the Oruro Carnival.

Characters of the devil dance

This dance is one of the dances that has more variety in terms of its characters, which we show you below:

The Archangel Michael

The Archangel Michael
The central character of the devil's dance is Archangel Michael, who commands the forces of good and is responsible for leading, as a central guide to the devils, leader of the heavenly hosts and the victor in his battle to banish the forces Evil headed by Lucifer and all his loyal devils who embody pride, Greed, gluttony and other capital sins, is responsible for placating the rebellion of the devils. His clothing is totally different from that of the devils, he wears a shiny metal helmet, a long and shiny hair, is covered with a protective armor as laid by a chest, pollerin, boots and white gloves. He has huge wings on his back and always carries the sword, shield and helmet with him. The colors that characterize this leader of the forces of good are white, blue and light blue, the helmet is golden and also the handle of the sword.


Next to the Archangel Michael, Lucifer is another of the main characters, in the dance of the devil represents evil is considered the lord of perversity and leader of the dark forces. As for his clothes, he distinguishes himself from the common devil because he wears a luxuriously embroidered cape with multicolored threads and adorned with precious stones, he has a chest as part of his armor in addition to protectors at the waist, the mask is black with toads and lizards and others Native witchcraft animals, it also differs from others because it wears a crown that expresses that it is the King of the devil. He is also known as Luzbel and elegant prince of the rebel angels.


Satan wears a dress very similar to Lucifer although of lesser category, his mask also wears a crown, but it has fewer points. He also wears an armor, in the part of the waist he has a skirt instead of the pollerín that Lucifer has.

La China Supay, woman of the devil

La China Supay, woman of the devil
The woman of the devil has green, yellow and red skirts, although these colors usually vary according to the Fraternity or set. His face is covered with a sensual mask, they wear high-heeled boots with a heel and closed at the front, his hair is long, he has a crown and a scepter in his hand. In the beginning of the devilish this female character was formerly represented by a man who danced from China Supay.

The Bear

The Bear
The Bear is the funny character of the devil's dance, they do not perform the same dance steps as the devils, they perform steps with moderate movements, since the costumes are bulky and heavy, their task is to open field to the crowd that bet waiting for the dance and repeal joy in its path.
The dancers who dance as a bear wear a suit that resembles the appearance of real bears, it is not necessary to make a lot of effort to distinguish them, since they are robust and tall, they attract the attention of many people in their passage through the Carnival route. They have some difficulty in the movement, but that does not prevent them from giving joy to the public and companions.

The Condor

The Condor is the bird that represents the Andes of Bolivia, it is an attraction that is part of the variety that this dance has.
In her dress she wears a mask with the Condor's own features with feathers and other ornaments, and her arms are the huge wings. The condor is very respected and sacred to the Andean cultures, it is related to the world above, it represents the messenger spirit of the bluish mountains from which tin is extracted.

The Devils

The Devils
The largest number of members of the dance of the devil are precisely devils, are the troops, the army of Lucifer. He has a horrible face crowned with hellish bugs on his head, with many ornaments with evil creatures. They also wear scarves on their hands embroidered with rhinestones and threads of gold and silver, long-sleeved and white cotton t-shirt and diver. His armor has many ornaments of silver, rhinestones, coins, also highlights some embroidery of dragons with chilling figures, his boots are white edged with red sport a large snoring spur, usually silver that makes the costumes more colorful.

Origins of the devilish

The dance of the modern diablada would have its origins in the ancestral rituals of the Urus performed over 2000 years ago. The god called Tiw, who was the protector of the Urus in mines, lakes, rivers and, in the case of Oruro (or Uru-uru), the owner of caverns and rock shelters. The Urus venerate this deity through the dance of the devils being the main character Tiw himself, later this name was Hispanicized as Uncle and, as a product of syncretism, the Tiw was represented as the figure of a repentant devil of his sins becoming devotee of the Virgin of Socavón. It includes the theory that the devil would have originated in ancestral rituals performed by the Uru ethnic group.

Folk groups

At the Oruro Carnival Entrance there are 5 official institutions that dance and wear the costumes of the devil's dance.
- Great Authentic Traditional "Diablada Oruro" (1904)
- Artistic and Cultural Fraternity "La Diablada" (1944)
- Traditional Ensemble "Diablada Oruro" (1944)
- Diablada "Ferroviaria" (1956)
- Artistic Diablada "Urus" (1960)


In Bolivia, the devil is danced in different festivities:
- The Folkloric Entrance of the Oruro Carnival.
- The University Entrance of Oruro.
- Children's Corso.
- The Feast of Great Power in La Paz.
- The University Entrance in La Paz.
- The Feast of Ch'utillos in Potosí.
- The Corso de Corsos in Cochabamba.
- The Entrance of the Virgen del Carmen de El Alto.
- The Entrance of the Virgen del Carmen de Santa Cruz.
- The Entrance of the Virgin of Urkupiña in Quillacollo, Cochabamba.
- In many other folkloric tickets that are made in Bolivia during the year.
The dance of the devil is also danced in many parts of the world, where Bolivians formed communities of residents.

The account of the 7 deadly sins

In the story of the devil the seven deadly sins that embody seven devils are manifested, who together with Lucifer fight against The Archangel Michael. In this fight between good and evil, Archangel Michael manages to defeat all these evil forces, getting them to surrender and repent for all evils in front of the Virgin of Socavón.

The pride

Another of the devils embodies in this dance what pride is a feeling of superiority to others.


Also present is Greed, which is one of the sins of the human being who always seeks to accumulate more and more wealth without sharing with the rest.


In this dance you could not miss what is Lust, a messy and uncontrollable sexual desire that makes many people prey.


In the devil there is also who embodies the anger that is an emotion that is expressed through resentment or irritability.

The gluttony

Another of the most common sins is Gluttony, which is also present in the dance of the devil, that excessive appetite in eating and drinking.


One of the sins that is also very common is the Envy that is the desire to obtain something that another person possesses and that one lacks.


Laziness that refers to negligence, asthenia, boredom or carelessness in carrying out activities.
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