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Bēhance

Cerro de Gotha, the shattered mountain

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  • - Cerro de Gotha -
    theshattered  mountain
  • The festival is held annually on the Cerro de Gotha in honor of Lady of Urchupina. Thousands of Bolivians,  Aymara and Chequa, go on top of a mountain to crush the rock with a hammer and then take home a stone, as a pledge to the desire expressed in the  presence of the Lady. But the question really is a bit 'more complex. At dawn many Bolivians who flocked from all directions in the street showed me the way to follow. They were thousands, of all ages, all walking. When I  arrived at the foot of the mountain I immediately noticed that the road leading uphill to the summit is strewn with stalls. It was not until I approached one of them that noticed  the merchandise for sale. There were model of cars, houses, airplanes, fake passports, medical certificates, licenses and many counterfeit dollars collected in bundles. I still did not understand. Everyone bought something with security, choosing between  goods for sale. But because a passport instead of a model car or a house instead of a medical certificate? I continued to climb upward as the first light of dawn and a light mist made the atmosphere intimate and mysterious. After about an hour of walking I arrived on a huge plateau, the sound of hammer blows imprinted on the rocks that led me toward what was once the heart and, in a sense, the meanig of what appeared to me. Rosario, a guy by the name likely adopted for the occasion, while selling beer and blessed with it the stones detached from the rock, explained me what was in the rite. First he said that the rite was in two directions, one outward and one return. He explained me that those who participated for the first time had to buy a model that represented the request to do to Lady. Then, once removed a stone from the rock of the mountain, it was necessary that would make it "blessed with beer" toghethe with the model, and then pack and take them home where he was to keep until the following year. If the desire had been fulfilled, the luck would turn back the model to burn it in a kind of "sacred landfill" located further down the path. I pulled a stone from the rock and I bless it with the beer togheter a bunch of fake dollars that I had previously bought as a souvenir (because you never know how things go ..) and following the sound of the crackling of fireworks I walked along the path that went down.The landfill was full of people who, after having deposited their packs with models purchased, gave fire thanking the Virgin for having expressed the wish.
    My package is still
      waiting to be brought back. Perhaps the distance eliminated the holy effect of beer.