LA CUMBRE, Bolivia – An Andean ritual on a Bolivian mountain welcomed on Monday a new season of food sowing and fertility of Pachamama or Mother Earth and asked the “apus” or mountain deities to expel COVID-19 from the country.
The apacheta or offering point at La Cumbre, near La Paz, was the place chosen for the ritual in which the acting deputy minister of decolonization, Leonardo Montaño, participated with a group of mostly indigenous people.
Sept. 21, which celebrates the beginning of spring in the southern hemisphere, is also a very important date in the “Andean world,” since it marks a new stage of fertility and production of Earth, Montaño told EFE.
“We are asking that production begin to generate,” to “strengthen little by little with the energies of the pacha (land),” he said.
The offerings included a k’oa or table that was prepared for Mother Earth with “sweets” of various images made of sugar, wool of different colors, incense, cocoa leaves and a “sullu” or dead llama fetus.
This offering is left in the fire until it is consumed and is “ch’alla” (sprinkled with alcohol) to ask Mother Earth to provide food, given the hardships caused by COVID-19.
Another offering was made to Pachamama in another nearby apacheta, sacred places at a high point where this type of ritual is performed, to ask Mother Earth and other deities to help make the COVID-19 epidemic leave the country.
With this ritual, the amautas (Andean sages) ask the apus to intervene so that there are no more COVID-19 patients in the country and to help cure the sick, Montaño said.
Accompanying a song played with a charango (stringed instrument), black and white wool was used in this ritual and offerings were left in the sacred spot so that Bolivians may enjoy good health.
These rituals have been celebrated in Bolivia for centuries in indigenous communities, although over the years they have been adapted and are currently also performed in cities, especially in August, which is considered the month of Mother Earth.
The latest report from the Ministry of Health indicates that there have been 7,617 deaths and 130,676 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country, of which 89,617 have recovered.
Bolivia is experiencing difficult times due to COVID-19, with packed hospitals and cemeteries, in addition to social protests in the midst of the health emergency.
The country entered a “post-confinement” stage this month, after more than five months of lockdown, with fewer restrictions and a downward curve in both infections and deaths.