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Happenings To The North: Eating Dirt

December 30, 2009, 12:00 am
By Corey Pein


The other day the co-founders of the always-interesting religion blog Killing The Buddha published a nice dispatch on "Dirt eating in Chimayo, New Mexico."


Pilgrims travel this path. They come from as far away as Albuquerque... The path travels through Sante Fe, where hand-carved wooden santos go in the galleries for $300, $500, a thousand bucks a pop to visitors from Manhattan, Seattle, and Berlin; where pictures of Pueblo medicine men are more popular than the velvet Jesuses hawked by vendors along the road to Chimayo; on to Española, low-rider capital of America, where on Good Friday, to celebrate the end of Lent, Mary rides three inches off the ground in a glitter green 1965 Chevy Impala...


People go to Chimayo to eat dirt. They pray to more gods than you can count on two hands. They believe that a paper mache baby doll decked out in garb appropriate to 18th-century Prague is in all actuality El Santo Niño, that this baby doll leaves a neighboring church built just for him every night and wears his shoes out wandering the countryside. They believe this so much they bring him baby shoes; for years, a woman who lived next door kept a supply on hand for those who forgot.

 

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