Topic: Religions Tours
Popular shrines… one story on Gauchito Gil
In previous articles we’ve talked about the history and cultural meaning of popular “saints” in the Latin American region, and more specifically in Argentina. The fact that our modern culture is the result of a convergence of two (at least) very different subjective approaches to reality is what makes of Latin American Religious rituals interesting and appealing social conducts.
Gauchito Gil shrines can be found all throughout the Argentine routs, highways and roads, from the northernmost point in La Quiaca, to Ushuaia down in the southern extreme of our Republic. And if we approach this spectacular phenomena from a sociological and anthropological point of view, we will realize that Gauchito Gil symbolizes the need and devotion for heroes and prime human values, and considering the situation this country has gone through the last decade, and the lack of institutional role models opened a gap in which popular cultural modalities have raised upon the unsatisfied as to open a shred of light within such darkness.
If traditional sanctuary cult is linked to a pre-established organized devotion manner, embraced by the church in which the offering of prayers and candles take place; popular shrines –such as those of Gauchito Gil- offer no restrictions whatsoever for the faithful. Candles, flowers and rosaries, are indeed the linking element to traditional cult, but also, cigarettes, food offerings, letters, and personal belongings tie indeed deeply this form of cult to other kinds of religions, much in debt with the Incas, the Aymaras, the Aztecs and many other great civilizations that populated out broad continent way before the Spanish conqueror looked across the horizon seeking new sources of wealth and power. Along with the spade came the cross, and if the military conquest was fast but painful, the conquering of the soul harsher and everlasting has not yet said its last word.
See Photo Image Gallery of the fire ......
Gauchito Gil Road Side Shrine Sanctuaries
The past weekend was a national holiday in Argentina linked in fact, to this matter of topic, the Spanish conquest. When driving, I was astonished by a Dante like scenario, when I saw a Gauchito Gil shrine on fire. It was too late to put it off, since it was burning almost everything. …………an accident, an excess of offerings, candles, cigarettes, etc, a bit of wind and it got all it lighten up… Passion and need of guidance, an excessive worshiping had burnt down the source to it.
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Road Side Sanctuaries, Argentina
Bob Frassinetti. Copyright 2005. Roberto Dario Frassinetti. Argentina.