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BOLIVIA'S EVO MORALES WANTS INDIGENOUS CALENDAR TO REPLACE GREGORIAN

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Bolivian President Evo Morales has proposed that the Andean country replace the Gregorian calendar with the nation’s Indigenous peoples' calendar. Bolivia’s first Indigenous president, President Evo Morales said his country should consider abandoning the "colonial imposition" that is the Gregorian calendar.

During a ceremonial event celebrating Inti Raymi, an ancient Incan tradition marking the winter solstice and honoring the sun, President Morales referred to the Gregorian calendar as “untidy.”

“Therefore, we must reclaim our ancestral calendar as part of the rebuilding of our identity,” President Morales stated.

Morales issued his comments on Tuesday as Bolivian’s celebrated the winter solstice, which is considered "day zero" in the indigenous calendar and marks the beginning of the arrival of the year 5,524.

President Morales, who declared the date a national holiday in 2010, has implemented a series of laws that aim to promote Bolivian national identity and abandon colonial cultural traditions.

In 2014, the clock displayed on the Bolivian Congress building in La Paz was re-set to run in reverse, instead of clockwise, to reflect the country's location in the Southern Hemisphere.

Since becoming elected in 2005, Morales’ political discourse has been largely based on the need to “decolonize the state” and combat racism.

The government's integration of Indigenous symbols and cultural practices into national legislation have formed part of a state-led attempt to construct an inclusive national identity, based on the exaltation rather than the erasing of cultural and ethnic differences.

Around 42 percent of Bolivia’s total population belongs to 36 different Indigenous ethnic groups, making it the country with one of the highest percentage of indigenous peoples in the Western Hemisphere.

Post-scriptum: 
The Aymara new year is celebrated across Bolivia with people gathering before sunrise to welcome in the new year. | Photo: Reuters

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