Monday, June 20, 2011

You Can't Prohibit Faith

The tomb of Julio Garavito, and beside it one venerated by prostitutes.
The tomb of astronomer Julio Garavito in Bogotá's Central Cemetery has long been the unlikely destination of the superstitious, who believe that it can bring good luck and even wealth. Altho Garavito, a man of science, would undoubtedly have rejected the superstition, the belief does have a connection to reality: Garavito is on the 20,000 peso bill.

Dear Visitor: We remind you
that expressing faith is prohibited....
Visitors often left flowers colored blue, the same as the 20,000 peso bill, and even painted parts of the tomb blue.

Recently, the cemetery administration renovated Garavito's tomb, raising it and erasing the messages believers had written to Garavito, asking him for miracles or thanking him for favors received.

The cemetery folks also put signed on neighboring trees reminding visitors that leaving flowers, writing messages, burning incense and other activities were strictly prohibited in the cemetery.

Naturally, and thankfully, believers have ignored the warning and the tomb is decorated once again.

A woman rubs a 20,000 peso bill against the tomb, hoping for wealth.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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