sábado, julio 25, 2009

Silver, Sucre and La Virgen de Guadalupe

One of the advantages of wearing a coat outdoors is that it permits me to carry my digital camera with me at all times. This morning, I was able to get into the Chapel of the Virgin de Guadelupe. The Chapel, adjoining the Cathedral, contains a miraculous image of the Patroness of La Plata (Sucre.) The image itself, Mary and baby Jesus have painted faces which were placed on a gold-plated silver triangle, is encrusted with jewels (pearls, diamonds, emeralds, etc.) and is rumored to be so valuable that, if cashed in could pay off Bolivia's national debt.

In the Plaza, along the side elevation of the Cathedral, a line of cars were being readied for a procession and eventual Mass in the Guadelupe Chapel. The cars were covered with family treasures (weavings, silver bowls and plates, and stuffed animals and dolls.) I missed the procession itself, but I spoke with one of the women sewing silver objects to the weavings. She told me that it was a family celebration. Years ago, in Cochabamba, I saw a similar ceremony. Then, I learned that each year, a family becomes the protector of a religious image for a year. The procession and fiesta occured when the next branch of the family takes guardianship. Perhaps, this was a similar occassion.

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