If you make a road trip anywhere in Argentina, you will likely see this in many crossroads or just by the side of the road:
One of the main ways that Gauchito Gil is thanked for his work is by his devotees making public announcements in his honor and letting others know of his great deeds.
Every January 8th more than 300 thousand pilgrims gather in the sanctuary of Corrientes and there are tributes throughout the country. Everything is red: Flags, candles, crosses and headbands that identify the gauchito Gil, our pagan saint.
As a folk saint, he is not recognized by the Catholic Church, even though thousands of followers believe in his miraculous powers. Whether it started as a folk myth, legend or he was a real miracle-worker, he has been venerated for more than one hundred years in his native province and the cult spread to the rest of the country.
Find the full legend of Gauchito Gil in his Wikipedia page.
Traditionally, in order to make a request to the gauchito, we write on a red ribbon what we need and leave it at night on the branch of a tree, a fence or a stick stuck in the ground. You can also light a red candle and, with the ribbon of the same color as a rosary, say a prayer.
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Prayer to Gauchito Gil
“¡Oh! Gauchito Gil. Te ruego humildemente se cumpla por intermedio ante Dios el milagro que te pido y te prometo que cumpliré mi promesa, brindándote mi fiel agradecimiento y demostración de fe en Dios y en vos, GAUCHITO GIL. Amén.”
Oh! Gauchito Gil. I humbly pray that the miracle I ask of you is fulfilled through God and I promise you that I will fulfill my promise, offering you my faithful gratitude and demonstration of faith in God and in you, GAUCHITO GIL. Amen.
Offerings to Gauchito Gil:
A burning red candle, red wine and cigarettes are the main offerings. There are those who leave a red ribbon at a public altar and take, as a bracelet, another ribbon that they collect from those previously left by someone else.
People of different ages follow Gauchito and it doesn’t matter if they are Catholic or not. “El Gauchito Gil belongs to the people and makes no distinction for anyone”.
This is one of the main saints worshipped in my home country, along with San la Muerte (another pagan saint) and San Jorge. There are many more folk legends and tales including supernatural entities and forces of Nature. Feel free to share folk tales and legends from your region!