A group of people dance the Atiku during the Arete Guasu celebration. (Walter Astrada)

A boy covered with mud prepares to participate in the cuchi-cuchi game. Cuchi-cuchi consists of throwing mud or embracing people and staining them with mud. (Walter Astrada)

Walter Astrada has worked as a photojournalist for 20 years. Born in Argentina, Astrada began his career at his hometown paper, Buenos Aires’s La Nación. After that, he spent several years covering news events for agencies while living in numerous countries. During that time, he also worked on long-term projects on social issues and human rights violations.

Four years ago, Astrada decided to continue exploring the globe on his own. He said, “Driven by my desire to experience more of the world, on May 1, 2015, I left Barcelona with the idea of traveling the world with my camera, a Royal Enfield motorcycle and documenting the countries I am observing as I go along.”

During Astrada’s travels, he eventually made his way to Paraguay, where he said he “wanted to go and photograph the Arete Guasu in the Paraguayan Chaco.” Astrada describes the event in the following words:

“Arete Guasu is the sacred celebration of the Western Guarani people and has been held since time immemorial, each year, in their ancestral territories of the great South American Chaco (central Chaco in Paraguay, southern Bolivia and northeastern Argentina). The ritual is a meeting of several worlds (of the living, the ancestors, the dead) from the Guarani cosmology, with a rituality, where masks, costumes, musicians and staging come together in a meeting between the sacred, the ancestors, and the so-called “games” and the uninterrupted music of the bands.”

You can find out more about Astrada, and follow his journeys, on his website.

Boys covered with mud arrive to participate in the cuchi-cuchi game. (Walter Astrada)

A group of men dressed as spirits play around the bull before the fight where they will be caught during the bull-bull game. (Walter Astrada)

A man dressed as an old witch walks to a house to participate in the celebration. (Walter Astrada)

A man dressed as a spirit is caught during the bull-bull game. (Walter Astrada)

A man dressed as a spirit with a devil's mask is caught and marked during the bull-bull game. (Walter Astrada)

A man lies on the ground after drinking too many beers. (Walter Astrada)

A group of people dance the Atiku. (Walter Astrada)

A group of people move from one house to another to continue the celebration. (Walter Astrada)

A group of inhabitants of the village look on as the celebration starts. (Walter Astrada)

A group of people dance the Atiku. (Walter Astrada)

In Sight is The Washington Post’s photography blog for visual narrative. This platform showcases compelling and diverse imagery from staff and freelance photographers, news agencies and archives. If you are interested in submitting a story to In Sight, please complete this form.

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