Ekeko: a doll that fulfils wishes

Ekeko doll placed in the window

This post is also available in: Español

24 January is the day of the Ekeko God, a small terracotta doll symbolising abundance, fertility and joy. We tell you what is the Ekeko, a doll that fulfils wishes, but only if you take good care of it…

Keep on reading!

What is the Ekeko

The Ekeko doll lives in many homes and is personified by a figurine smaller than the size of a hand, always with a friendly air, a big belly and colourful clothes.

He is known to be the god who represents abundance and happiness in the home and is responsible for warding off bad omens.

You will find him if you travel to Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina.

ekeko doll typical from latam

Care ritual for the doll

The Ekeko doll has a traditional care ritual for its good luck to work in the house where it lives.

The first very important rule, once you acquire an Ekeko, you cannot uncover its face until you arrive at the house it is going to start taking care of.

Once you arrive at Ekeko’s future home, you must show your new companion around the house so that he knows all the territory he will have to protect. Then place him in a nice spot in one of the rooms.

Machu Picchu tour banner

Celebration of Ekeko Day

One of the customs and traditions in Bolivia is the belief that the Ekeko doll is able to grant wishes, preferably on his day, the 24th of January.

You should give him a gift and combine it with his clothes (preferably) or leave it around him. The gift you decide to give him should be related to the type of wish you want to make. It is very common for the gift to be a miniature of it.

For example, if I want the family’s economy to be more prosperous, I will leave a banknote or a coin next to him; or if I want a new car, I will leave him a small miniature car as a gift.

Ekeko loaded with goods

Paying attention of the figurine

Once you have offered your gift, in order for the “power” of the Ekeko to take effect, you must give it a “smoke”. All Ekekos have a concave mouth in which you can place a cigarette. In this way, while the Ekeko “smokes”, you will make a wish in relation to the offerings you have given it that year.

If the cigarette that has been lit is only half consumed, it is a sign of a bad omen or his dissatisfaction in the home where he lives, but if it is consumed whole, it means that you have a good chance that your wish will be fulfilled and that he is very excited to live in your home.

The Ekeko is a capricious being and requires a lot of attention, for apart from the annual offerings, twice a week you need to offer it a new cigarette and bring some kind of alcoholic beverage to its side. Even so, many households feel a great weakness for this doll, which is why in most homes Ekeko has a name of his own, such as Benito, Carlos, Mario, etc.

However, everyone has flaws and Ekeko is no exception. The Ekeko doll is a very jealous God and if he pays more attention to another person in the house he may feel jealous of that person.

Don’t forget to take an Ekeko as a souvenir if you travel to Bolivia, it is the perfect figurine to complete your travelling collection of souvenirs.

Ekeko face full of presents

Decalogue of the Ekeko

And last but not least, you should know the Decalogue of the Ekeko.

“I am small and pot-bellied, funnier than a jester. I go to the country and to the city, welfare and happiness. My fortune is for all, I give to the people in a thousand ways. Health, money and love; and goodbye misfortune and sorrow. Carrying gifts I give, joyful, blissful I am. Come to my feast in Alasitas, there with faith, you request me, if happy you want to be, there to buy is your duty. Buy and make me bless it, silver and luck chase you. I am the popular happiness the fortune of the home. To buy with devotion and win my blessing.”

Now that you know what the famous Ekeko is, what are you waiting for to have one? Maybe it will fulfil all your wishes!

Lily

Lily is happy with a backpack on her back. Every year she travels through one country in Latin America and has repeated several times, especially Peru where she says she feels at home (although she says the same about Argentina, Chile and Bolivia).

She loves ceviche, hiking and Sunday picnics with her friends, although whenever you ask her, she's always planning her next destination.

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