Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas in the Central Cemetery

Women place flowers on the tomb of Bavaria Brewery founder Leo Kopp. A Jewish immgrant from Germany (but not from Bavaria) he is famed to have been a very good employer, and has become a popular saint. 
Always colorful and full of history and tradition, Bogotá's Central Cemetery is usually most busy on Sundays and Mondays. And, today being the day before Christmas, it was doubly busy - and full of flowers.

Flowers and candies for the four Bodmer sisters, who are believed to perform miracles. 
The faithful light candles outside the cemetery gates. 

Flowers and headstones for sale beside the cemetery. 

Believers place flowers on the statue known as Jesus Caido by the cemetery's entrance. The person buried here is said to have been a young man who had the good fortune to be rich and so got this primo spot by the entrance. 

Bavaria founder Leo Kopp is hidden by believers' flowers.

Rubbing a 20,000 peso bill against the blue-painted tomb of Julio Garavito, the astronomer whose face graces the bill. Because the bill is blue, that's become his color. Believers in his powers also leave blue-tinted flowers. Beside him is the tomb of Salome, the patron saint of the prostitutes. 

Behind the cemetery, a crowd drinks beer in front of a shop named 'La Ultima Lagrima' (The Last Teardrop). 

The tomb of Jose >Mercado, a labor leader murdered by the M-19 guerrillas. 

The tomb of M-19 presidential candidate Carlos Pizarro is nearly covered by tiles placed by faithful 'Giving thanks' for favors received by this guerrilla and politician turned popular saint. 

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours


mauricio forero l said...

Excellent post, Mike. Like always. Now my question is: how many of these very faithful Catholics are aware that Leo Kopp was a Jew? I don't know how much a Jewish diseased man can perform miracles. Now, La Ultima Lagrima, the bar in the corner, I think I had some beers with some of my buddies in the eighties. Just to see that building makes this post so awesome. Now, how can they put flowers in the grave of Jose Raquel Mercado? Are they aware of how this guy was selling the interest of those that he was supposed to help? This guy was not good. Now, Carlos Pizarro, even though I know he was an atheist, I can guarantee you that he could perform miracles. He was a great man.

Thank you for your post,
Mauricio Forero.

Miguel said...

Hi Mauricio,

I bet most believers have no idea that he was Jewish (he's deceased, by the way, not diseased). As for Mercado, I don't know the details of his story, and suspect that those leaving flowers do not, either. But, however corrupt Mercado may have been (or not been), the M-19 had no right to kidnap and murder him.


Stuart Oswald said...

Makes me laugh. Catholics can put flowers on anyone's grave regardless of religion. Very strainge thing to say. lol