If you are in Copacabana on a weekend do not miss a local ritual in the morning in front of the cathedral. Cars and buses are decorated with colorful flowers and ribbons. Then the priest comes with the virgin (petitions for protection are made to her )and pours alcohol over the vehicles. It is kind of entertaining to watch.
Apparently between Good Friday and Easter Sunday there is a lot of long distance buses coming to get their blessings.
Yeah, as i told you most of the people from la paz and around Peru. come here to bless their cars.
this mean that they do not want to have any accidents. that they will receive all the fortune by the miraclous virgen of Copacabana.
as you see in the pic. this bus is well adorned with flowers and others.
Most of the people of copacabana work in the industry of tourism.
the artesanos built then sell this miniatures things. it may be houses, busses, as a souveniers and some of them to be blessed. you know we believe that if we blessed with a lot of faith, you may get a real one in the near future.
this pic was taken in EL CALVARIO.
Most of the people from la paz travel there to be blessed by the power of the virgen de copacabana. while in copacabana they buy some souvenirs and ask to the sacerdot to be blessed them. you know he spielt some water over the handicrafts and yourselves too.
as you see in the picture my dad is being blessed by the sacerdot....
Apart from the traditional catholic imagery and customs, you could see in Copacabana the roots of traditional cults and rituals. In the street stalls around the main square you could see little trucks, little houses, little shops... At first I thought they were toys for kids, but a vendor explained me that they were offerings for the Gods!
People who have a, let's say, new house, buy a little plastic house and bring it to one of these "shamans" that are in Calvario Hill. They make the right offer to the Gods in these little shrines they have here and you are supposed to get good luck for the object you brought...
In case you wanna get married at this church, I found a sign with the main requirements.
1.- Baptism certificate
2.- Confirmation certificate
3.- 2 witnesses that know you at least 5 years ago
4.- Pre-marriage courses
5.- Marriage certificate of the godparents
6.- Come to see the priest 2 months in advance
7.- Fill up the official papers at least 1 month in advance
C'mon, just do it! :-))
This is the name for the blessing of cars that takes place every sunday here. Drivers bring here their car when they buy it, so they get blessed and it means good luck. They adorn the car with flowers all over, so is nice to see all the cars parked in the main square.
Even buses and trucks come to be blessed!!
When you are at Cerro Calvario, you can do the Stations of the Cross. You start by picking up a rock that is the size of your sins. I picked up a rock bigger than my guide since he is also a minister in a church. At first I thought you just had to place it on the Station to get rid of your sins, but not so! You must stand back about 10 feet and toss the rock. If it stays on the Station, then you are forgiven. If it falls off, you must find a bigger rock and try again on the next Station. Whew, I got it the first time. I don't know what happens if you miss at the 14th Station (if you can even pick up a rock that big by then).
remember that eventhough almost all indians are very polite, freindly and always ready to help, some of them are a bit tired of being photo objects.
therefor always ask before you snap a photo of them.
We noticed people on the bus to La Paz eating this fluffy pop corn-like grain. They seemed to carry enormous bags of the stuff and we had seen it in these huge bags in Copacabana but had not wanted to buy such a big portion without trying it. We later found smaller ones in La Paz. It was like a kid's cereal, but just lightly sweetened. It was obviously a local grain, puffed and served up as a tasty snack. It was great for bus trips and kids as well as us loved it.
It may seem strange that people make a pilgrimage here to pray for trucks but in this beautiful but unforgiving terrain, one can appreciate that such an item would be more than just a luxury. At any rate, people make this trek up Cerro Calvario with small models of trucks or other desired possesions to be blessed at the top, in hopes of getting the real deal in the upcoming year.
This is really a Peruvian drink but you can find it anywhere here, in several sizes, is rather popular. I tasted once but was too seet for me, like drinking a chewing gum or so, haha
Though Bolivian beers were not as tasty as their Peruvian counterparts, the Pilsner from La Paz was not a bad tipple and at these prices with this weather, who could argue.