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Santa Clara University Archives :: Exhibits :: Urban Dreams / Suenos Urbanos :: Blessing of ESPIRITU SANTU
University Archives - Urban Dreams / Suenos Urbanos - Rituals and Beliefs in the City - Blessing of ESPIRITU SANTU
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Blessing of ESPIRITU SANTU
  Blessing of ESPIRITU SANTU, 1995
The guardians or sponsors (prestes) of the barrio's patron saint seek a blessing from the Father in the local Catholic Church. Inside the wooden box stands a small figurine representing the Virgin Mary. In 1972, long time resident Don Juan purchased this sacred statue in the lakeside village of Copacabana and brought it to the barrio to watch-over and protect the residents living in Villa Huayna Potos�. Every year since then a resident has cared for the icon in his family's house, sponsoring the yearly festival of ESPIRITU SANTU commemorating the exchange between guardians. Sponsorship is a great responsibility, requiring a huge outlay of cash and credit to provide drink, food, music, dance troupes and a bullfight for the barrio residents. Each May the community celebrates the passing of the icon ESPIRITU SANTU from one family to another and their continued good luck, representing the traditional redistributive aspects of Aymara culture, as everyone shares in the wealth of the community. However, today this aspect of giving to those who have little has been overshadowed by the prestige of orchestrating such an occasion, and importance of publicly illustrating one's individual power and wealth.
  ©1996
Permission to reproduce any portion of the exhibit Urban Dreams/Suenos Urbanos is strictly prohibited.
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