The Meantime The Bell Is Slung Up On Three Poles.
It was solemnly
beaten with a stick on Christmas Eve to commemorate the time when the
"Mother of Heaven" gave birth to her child Jesus.
In one of the
principal houses of the village the scene was most vividly
reproduced. A small arbor was screened off by palm leaves, in which
were hung little colored candles. Angels of paper were suspended from
the roof, that they might appear to be bending over the Virgin, which
was a highly-colored fashion-plate cut from a Parisian journal that
somehow had found its way there. The child Jesus appeared to be a
Mellin's Food-fed infant. Round this fairy scene the youth and beauty
of the place danced and drank liberal potations of chicha, the
Bolivian spirits, until far on into morning, when all retired to
their hammocks to dream of their goddess and her lovely babe.
After this paper Virgin the next most prominent object of worship I
saw in Piedra Blanca was a saint with a dress of vegetable fibre,
long hair that had once adorned a horse's tail, and eyes of pieces of
Poor, dark Bolivia! It would be almost an impossible thing to
exaggerate the low state of religion there. A communication from
Sucre reads: "The owners of images of Jesus as a child have been
getting masses said for their figures. A band of music is employed,
and from the church to the house a procession is formed.
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