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Gauchito Antonio Gil

Front View of Altar


The story of Gauchito Antonio Gil (pronounced "heel") is said to take a few different paths, but the common byline is that he was a Robin Hood figure who stole from the rich to give to the poor.

Legend has it that Gaucho Gil was a farmer who had an affair with a wealthy widow. When the affair was discovered, Gil fled and joined the army to escape the wrath of the townspeople and police (one of whom is said to have been in love with the widow himself). In the time leading up to the Argentine Civil War, he had grown tired of fighting and deserted. Upon returning home, he was detained and brutally executed for his refusal to continue fighting.

One of the lawmen who had been responsible for the death of Gil returned home to discover his son was deathly ill. The lawman prayed to Gaucho Gil and the son's health was restored. The lawman then took it upon himself to give the Gaucho a decent burial.



In Buenos Aires, you will see the image of the Gaucho reproduced in store windows, on trucks and vans throughout the city as a sticker, on flags and painted on businesses. Figurines deck the windows of homes and stores.

On visiting Chacaritas Cemetary, I spotted a large altar dedicated to Gauchito Antonio Gil. It was difficult to get shots without capturing the images of those who had come to pray to the Gauchito which seemed a disrespectful thing to do. Waiting for my chance, I observed a steady stream of people step in to make their requests and give thanks.

Hand Made Gauchito Gil Flag Hand Painted Gil


An Offer of Thanks Illuminated Thanks


Flag Giving Thanks Appreciation


Offering of Thanks on a Hand Made Flag Ornate Tribute


Inside the AltarInside the Altar


Flowers and Border Flowers and Red Flags


Another Miracle Fulfilled Another Miracle Fulfilled


The prayer to Gaucho Antonio Gil (from http://olydan.iespana.es/publifacil.htm):
Gauchito Antonio Gil: Humildemente te pido intercedas ante Dios para que se cumpla el milagro que tanto necesito. Te prometo que cumpliré mi promesa y te brindaré mi fiel agradecimiento, hoy y todos los días de mi vida.

English translation:

Gauchito Antonio Gil: Humbly I ask you to intercede before God that He will fulfill the miracle I need so much. I vow that I will carry out my promise to give to you my faithful thanks, today and every day of my life.

Woman Leaves Cigarette A Lit Cigarette as an Offerting


Transcribed from my notebook:

A woman sees me taking photos and says the altar must have burned. There was glass and now there's a warning about leaving things that may burn inside. She says she goes to Corrientes every year and Gil is very miraculous.

A young woman lights a cigarette and leaves it burning below the altar. I don't feel right taking pictures of the people inside. I wait for them to finish and write this. But there are so many people. A steady stream since I arrived 10 minutes ago. I feel like an intruder. It's obvious that Gil has a lot of miracles to his credit and loyal believers who continue to return and give thanks and ask favor.


Layers of Thanks in Red Layers of Thanks in Red


More on Gauchito Gil:

Gauchito Gil on Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gauchito_Gil

Gauchito Gil Gallery from Frank Graziano's Website "Cultures of Devotion" dedicated to the book by the same name:

http://www.culturesofdevotion.com/

(Go to Galleries and then Gaucho Gil)

Great Site (en español) with a wealth of info on Gauchito Gil:

http://www.santogauchitogil.com.ar/

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
casadetodd
Jan. 6th, 2009 11:19 pm (UTC)
Great post! I've been waiting for this one...I'm at work but when I get home I'll reread it at my leisure.

It's possible that we'll be visiting BA this year. I'll have to get a Gaucho Gil statue to put next to Santa Muerte on my bookcase...
katesedgwick
Jan. 6th, 2009 11:31 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I've been looking for your Gil. All the Santaria shops are closed and locked up tight when I happen to be passing by.
(Deleted comment)
katesedgwick
Jan. 7th, 2009 12:19 am (UTC)
I have always liked the idea of tangible, consumable items being burned, poured or scattered in honor of the dead or supernatural.
(Anonymous)
Jan. 16th, 2009 09:55 pm (UTC)
That's a pretty Romantic story (...but not in the sense of *swoon* for love). It seems like Argentina is filled with Romance - I love reading your posts to see what I will learn next.

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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