Monday, October 18, 2010

October and it's Patron Saint

Since 1687, Lima the city of Kings, as it is known through its history, celebrates every October the religious festival of El Senor de los Milagros (Lord of Miracles). On the 1st, a one day precession signals the arrival of the purple month, a color adopted from the habit of the confraternity of the Lord of Miracles.
Photo by Joselito Calbanapon
The main dates for the month are October 18 and 19, when the procession of the crucified "black" Christ travels through the main streets of the capital city. On both days, from 6 am to about 2 am, the heavy silver and gold framework and walker is carried on the shoulders of the brothers who take turns every few minutes.
Photo by Juan Manuel
The air is filled with incense and with the voices of a large group of women singing prayers. The National Guard Band plays non stop accompanying the procession, and as the image makes its way through, believers from every walk of live push their way through, trying to get as close as possible to see or even touch the venerated image.

Offerings of flowers are passed to the front, with hopes that the flowers will yield blessings and perhaps a miracle to the donor. Peruvians from every corner of the country travel to Lima to have their prayers heard. This has been recorded as the largest procession in the world, and it is said that it keeps growing every year.
Photo by Reinhard Agustin
Whether you are a believer or not, the intensity of this procession is an amazing experience. The faithful pour their hearts out, emotions run high; sounds of song and music fuse with car horns and ambulance sirens. The sun cast its rays on the image, and the reflection of its precious metals can make it seem like you are witnessing an apparition.
Photo by Lucyta Gomez
This dark painting, of Spanish Colonial influence, was my first taste of art and it's power when I was a little boy. I grew up with this, and I would force my father to take me to see the Lord as close as we could get. I grew up drawing and painting replicas of it, and as I mentioned once before, I swore that one day I would paint my own take on the subject.
For more on the history of this Peruvian Catholic tradition click here.

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