Week 3, Post 3: Baptism Day at Lagoon Cuicocha

August 13, 2019

One thing I never thought I would witness is a traditional, indigenous baptism on the mountains of Cotacachi. This day was actually also the nicest I have dressed! Since I am always working on the farmland with my family, I never have a chance to dress nicely until this day. I went to the baptism with my host family’s friends because my host mom was preparing the feast for the party. Once we arrived to the top of the mountains, I was astonished to see how a place so beautiful can be hidden from world view. I felt small compared to the three peaking mountains across the lagoon, but I also felt important, being part of a sacred traditional event on the high mountains of Cotacachi. I loved the view that I shared with many other visitors and tourists. It felt like a communal adventure because everyone was happy to see the mountains we walked past—all the way from the city of Cotacachi—and always imagined how would the view from up there would be like.

Once the ritual started, I was excited to see what was different from any baptism I have seen. For starters, they place vast importance on nature accepting the baptism on its land. The "priest" first asks for permission from the land, the mountains, and the ancestors to baptize a child on their land. We all asked for permission in unison. He spoke in Quichua, the indigenous language spoken here, and also in Spanish for the outside visitors like myself. What made it even more special was that the godparents were Swedish and flew straight from Sweden the day before to be there for their indigenous godson! To be honest, I wasn’t surprised to see a globalized and diverse event like this to happen; it is the 21st century and more and more people are seeing the opportunities that come when cultures are shared and loved by others. The Swedish godparents were happy to be part of indigenous culture by wearing the proper garment and also participating in the rituals and baptism itself.

Once it was all done, we knew it was a good day because the sun rose through the thick clouds and the wind calmed down for once. The land, mountains, and ancestors granted us permission to baptize their new child.