The Cemetery of Colón, in Havana looks rather like a garden than a burial ground; it is an obligatory place of visit for those who really want to know the capital of the largest of the Antilles.
Its baroque architecture, its roads shielded by leafy flamboyant and palm trees, under the shinning blue sky, paradoxically becomes the most certain negative to death. Its 56 hectares make the Cemetery of Colón the largest of America. Beautiful and romantic love stories, myth and legends adorn this burial ground where mourning and grief mix with hope and love.
The most popular grave and obviously the most visited one, is that of Amelia Goyri de la Hoz, an upper class lady known at present as “La Milagrosa” (The Miraculous Woman).
Doña Amelia passed away in 1903 with 23 years old, and lived a life as a novel. After many inconvenience she had to wait for his father death to marry the man she really loved. But her happiness was ephemeral, because she expired a year later during the process of delivery.
The lady was buried with the dead child placed on her feet. The legend tells when the grave was opened some time afterwards the child was on his mothers arms. Her desperate husband, José Vicente Adot, could not stand so much pain and went out of his mind. He went to the cemetery every afternoon and tapped the gravestone with the bronze knocker screaming: Wake up Amelia! Wake up Amelia!
He made this ritual for 17 years until he died. All this story of suffering made the romantic lady a worshipped imaged.
At present the image competes in terms of relevance with the saints and virgins of the Catholic and Yoruba religions.
On the other hand, the La Milagrosa receives more flowers and prayers than any other holy images, while the authorities of the Cuban church observe astonished in silent. Hundreds of people go to La Milagrosa to ask for their children or love affairs. Since ancient times the ceremonial includes tapping with the knockers as the insane husband did.
The visitors leave walking backwards to avoid turning their backs to the white statue of Amelia.