Basilica of Our Lady of Copacabana
Blessing of the Mobility
Every morning at 10 o'clock sharp, the local taxi and minibus drivers line their vehicles up in front of the Cathedral of the Virgin of Copacabana to receive her blessing for health, wealth, and safety on Bolivia's notoriously treacherous roads. They buy elaborate decorations from the local vendors; paper flowers, streamers, and small statues of the Virgin are carefully placed on the vehicle. The atmosphere is bright and festive. Taxi drivers are wearing their Sunday-best and family members take lots of pictures.
Finally, an elderly woman emerges from the cathedral carrying incense, and a huge bottle of beer! She walks from vehicle to vehicle offering a prayer of blessing, waving the incense, and for the grand finale, she splashes beer onto the hood of each car.
The drivers leave the ceremony happily displaying a new sign in the rear window: BENDECIDO EN COPACABANA (Blessed in Copacabana). ThenI think to myself "does it cost more to ride in those taxis than in others that haven't been blessed?"