Jill Swanson is a student at Arizona State University and an ISA Featured Blogger. Jill is currently studying abroad in Lima, Peru on a Fall 1 program.
The whole month of October Peruvians celebrate “Señor de los Milagros” or in English, Lord of Miracles. It is a religious and cultural celebration like nothing I had ever seen before. In 1746 there was a devastating earthquake in Lima that destroyed the city, and the only thing left standing was a painted mural of Jesus Christ. Sometime after this marvelous occurrence they decreed the month of October a time to commemorate Jesus and all of his miracles. Peruvians participate in the festivities by wearing purple, eating scrumptious turron de Doña Pepa (traditional honey sweets), and most importantly with giant processions down streets.
The last Sunday of October I got to see one of the giant processions in downtown Lima. We had the perfect view of the whole parade from a house perched above the street. From the roof we could see all of the action, and escape the massive crowd flooding the streets below. The roads were decorated with elaborate flower petal murals dedicated to their Christian faith, and above streamers and flags were draped from the houses.
Spiritual music was blaring through the streets and people were sporadically setting off fireworks in anticipation for the procession to begin. The closer it came to starting time the more people gathered, until there was no room to move at all.
After hours of expectation, the parade finally began. Police were helping clear the way and people parted the streets to make way for the incoming procession. It was lead by a group of women cloaked in white veils. Closely behind them was a giant mural of Jesus being carried by men (probably priests) wearing purple robes. And at the rear the head priest was walking beneath a purple cloth, that acted like an umbrella to keep away all of the confetti floating in the air. Behind the priest was a band playing uplifting music. As the procession passed by people were crossing themselves and blowing kisses up to heaven. The parade didn’t last long, but the whole day was spent between the preparation, snacking and making the great escape through the masses of people after the procession. This day was a perfect depiction of how large of an influence the Christian religion has on Peruvian culture. For Peru, the two go hand in hand.
nice work jilllly!