Why waste good wine?
Sure, to many of us it seems silly. It’s perfectly good red, after all. But to the locals, it is a sign of reverence to their goddess and to the soil, which provides them with life.
The tradition of libation, or the ritual of pouring out drink as an offering to a deity, has been around for thousands of years, predominantly in the lens of religious practice. It is intrinsically entwined with the idea that sharing drink with their goddess is divine and shows her the incredible respect they have for her and the work she does nourishing the earth.
Unlike the other contributions of food and earthly items, which sit untouched in bowls or thrown into the freshly dug holes, drink can seep into the soil, allowing the earth to literally “drink” the alcohol they offer. The wine and chicha are made from grapes and corn respectively, both of which were grown from the earth, and to the earth they return, completing the circle both literally and spiritually. It is a form of reciprocity, a cosmic justice that keeps the balance of man’s relationship with nature in check.
Argentinians aren’t the only ones to believe in Pachamama. Other cultures living in the Andes across the borders into Peru and Bolivia also revere Pachamama and have their own variations of the ceremony. The one constant is the role of alcohol as a symbol of their worship.
Who can blame them? It isn’t a party without respectful company and a fine glass of wine.