San Nicholas, the biggest city close to La Emilia where I am staying, is famous for the Virgen María del Rosario de San Nicolás, a venerated virgin statue. This is a relatively new phenomenon but very famous throughout Argentina. It all began in 1983 when a woman, Gladys Quiroga de Motta started to have a series of apparitions of the virgin. Soon there were many testimonies of the virgin appearing and giving answers to miracles that people requested. The statue is now housed in a large concrete sanctuary and there is always a long line leading up for a close view on a balcony where it stands. Thousands of people make a pilgrimage to San Nicolas to see this statue during the year. But on the 25th of September there is an huge collective visit of about 500,000 people with fireworks, hymns, and a large procession.
And the cemetery in San Nicolas… This is one of the most catholic cities in Argentina and therefore the culture of keeping the cemetery decorated and pristine is more prevalent. The flowers are freshly cut and adorn the majority of the graves. I visited on a Sunday, a popular day for families to visit their loved ones, and the space was filled with the living all bringing flowers or going for a walk.
Notices on a niche where the family has not paid for upkeep of the grave. It will soon be removed. This tree that has stated to grow on top of this mausoleum looks like a peacock feather! A new version of niches in a private cemetery closer to La Emilia.