Difunta Correa

Why do people leave water bottles at roadside shrines in Argentina?

Shrines for Difunta Correa can be large and elaborate or plain and simple.

There are many shrines built alongside the roads in Argentina. Many of them are shrines built in memory of those killed in auto accidents, others are for Gaucho Gil, and still others are for the Difunta Correa.

Popular legend holds that Deolinda Correa’s husband was forcibly taken to join the military sometime around 1940. Deolinda, determined to find her young husband, set off across the pampas with her infant child in her arms.

Not unexpectedly, she died in the desert. As she lay dying of thirst, she set her son to her breast and, miraculously, he survived. A few days later, Deolinda’s body was discovered by gauchos driving cattle through the plains who then took her son and raised him. Many people believe Deolinda’s breast never dried out, despite her death.

Now, Argentinians build small altars along the roadway and leave bottles of water for Deolinda (now referred to as Difunta Correa, or Deceased Correa) in order to “calm her eternal thirst”.

Difunta Correa

The shrines are filled with various items for the Difunta, such as stuffed animals and baby socks.

Difunta Correa

Adorers leave bottles of water at the shrines so the Difunta will never run out.

Difunta Correa

You will find shrines for Difunta Correa throughout the country.

 

books by Nancy Sathre-Vogel

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