Learning about Cholitas

My older daughter is going to be some sort of artist or designer. She is crazy about art, color, texture, fabric, proportions, matching colors and beauty.

When she was 3, she told me “mommy, your pants are blue and your sweater is blue, but they don’t match”, and in deed they did not match.  This little one is the one that is less Hispanic looking of all my children, but the one that speaks Spanish without any fear.

Yesterday, she sat next to her American Grandmother to see her knitting. She asked and inquire about how to saw and knit. She wanted to knit something for herself.

Today, I had a surprise for her, we were going to talk about Cholitas.  Cholitas are Bolivian typical women, as clamor magazine.org describes them.  “The Cholita outfit is one of Bolivia’s most interesting cultural costumes. Tough-looking women wear their waist-length hair in braids connected together at the ends with tassled tullmas. They hurry about the busy streets of La Paz decked out in quadruple-layered underskirts called centros, bright polleras, little patent-leather or clear plastic slip-on shoes, fringed mantas neatly folded and worn across their backs, and small felt bowler hats balanced on top of their heads.  In the chilly winter or rainy summer, they throw on a pair of alpaca leg-warmers and sometimes wrap their hats in plastic bags, but still manage the muddy streets in their Cinderella-style slippers.”

To whom has visited La Paz – city, or the Bolivian Altiplano, this is a perfect description of this women.

So we talked about cholitas, how they dress and how they make their beautiful clothing.  Besides, she remembers them since she interacted with a few cholitas while visiting family in Bolivia.

I have a set of soft dolls, that represent a Bolivian family.  Un papá (cholo), una mamá (chola), dos niños (llock’allas) y dos niñas (imillas) . A symbol of nuestra familia.

Bolivian Family


By the end of the class, she was able to make her own set of Tullmas.  Yes, she made her own pom-poms, I made the laces, and we both put them together, here a few pictures of our hands on Bi-cultural learning.


Big brother saw we were having fun and tried to help with the laces.

After cutting the yarn and getting it out of the card board circles, she gave the last knot to hold the pom-poms together.  And I tied them up to the wool laces.  She was thrilled and proud of her work and her knowledge.

Here is the result.

And that is how they look braided and holding the woman’s hair. My youngest Cholita is showing them off.

Teach your children about your background. Teach them to learn where they came from. Teach them to accept and love other cultures. Teach them that all of us were made by God for His Honor and Glory, no matter where we were born.