Bolivia rolls out mini-lottery with Andean deity as mascot

La Paz, Aug 16 (epa-efe).- Bolivia's National Lottery presented on Wednesday a mini-lottery with a grand prize of 100,000 bolivianos ($14,463) and featuring Ekeko, the Andean god of plenty, as mascot.

Almost a dozen persons dressed up as Ekeko on Wednesday to promote the miniature fortune tickets, which sells for a little more than $1, as Bolivians' best chance for winning the mini-lottery.

As part of their costumes, the Ekekos carried tickets, household items, alcohol and other miniature items that comprise some of this deity's characteristics.

"Ekeko is the main character of this lottery because it he's small, tiny and that's why we've appealed to him to protect this campaign," the National Lottery director, Rossio Pimentel, told EFE.

Besides the jackpot, prizes will also be awarded in the amounts of $700, $1,400 and $4,000, along with 4,000 smaller prizes, Pimentel said.

The drawing will take place on Feb. 3 and so far people have bought 50,000 of the 70,000 tickets that are available for Bolivians who want to try their luck, the director said.

Ekeko is the centerpiece of the Catholic-influenced, indigenous street fair known as Alasita, celebrated annually on Jan. 24.

The streets hosting the Alasita Fair - the word means "Buy me!" in Aymara, the country's main indigenous language - were packed from the early morning hours with people of every age and social class.