El Señor de los Milagros, or the Lord of Miracles, has its origins in Lima and is celebrated throughout all of Peru. Actually, this is one of the most popular catholic celebrations in Latin America, in fact thousands of visitors come here this time of year. For Peruvian October means only one thing, celebrate this important event. If you do happen here during this period you can’t miss the procession of el Señor de los Milagres, even if you are not catholic. This is a strong cultural event that is worth getting to know.
In 1650 a slave of angolese provenance painted an image of the Cristo Moreno (Brown Christ) on a small adobe wall in the Barrio of Pachacamilla in the center of Lima. The devotees, mostly slaves, started to congregate around the image and began to worship it. A small temple was built around it by the believers. During the earthquake of 1655 there was great devastation, and all the structures collapsed, except for the small wall where the image was painted. As Lima is a city prone to experiencing earthquakes, this occurrence repeated itself several times throughout the years. After each earthquake the image of El Señor de los Milagros remained undamaged. This resulted in the existing adoration to continue to grow.
Even though the celebration takes place during the whole month of October, the specific dates are: 1st Saturday of October. Traditionally, on this day, the image departs from the Monasterio de las Nazarenas in the center of Lima to march the streets of the city, arriving at the Santuario de las Nazarenas at night. The 18th,19th, 28th of October. The last procession is on the 1st of November. On the last day, the image departs from the Santuario to the Monasterio for the year. This holiday is a commemoration of the first time that a replica of the image of Christ toured the streets of Lima, after the earthquake of October 20, 1687. This is a tradition that has been repeated every single year since the tragic earthquake.
The nuns of the congregation Madres Nazarenas Carmelitas Descalzas are in charge of guarding the image of El Señor de los Milagros. The nun’s clothes are purple, like the color of El Nazareno. When you visit the streets of the center of Lima in October, you’ll notice many purple ornaments, as well as people dressed in purple, this is an offering to their Patron. October is known as the “purple month” because of this traditions.
There are brotherhoods of El Señor de los Milagros in Lima in almost every district, but it’s not the only place where it is celebrated. There are also brotherhoods in Huancayo, Piura, Tumbes, Tacna, Trujillo, Arequipa, Iquitos, Huaraz, Huaral, Chosica, Ayacucho, Cañete and Cusco. It is also common to pay tribute in the cities that have a lot of Peruvians immigrants. The countries where this celebration takes place are The United States, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Bolivia, Spain, France, Panamá, Venezuela, Canada, Italy, Brazil, and Germany.