Every October, the country turns purple for mes morado (purple month) in honor of the Señor de los Milagros (the Lord of Miracles). Its history dates back to the 1600s to an Angolan slave in Lima.The Señor de los Milagros is a painting of Christ crucified that withstood the years. In the mid-1600s, an anonymous Angolan slave painted the image of Christ in expression of his faith on an ordinary adobe wall of a building where the Angolan brotherhood in the area would meet. There wasn’t anything special about the wall or the painting until 1655 when a terrible earthquake occurred. There were thousands of deaths and destroyed buildings, including the building of the Angolan brotherhood, yet the wall and the painting remained entirely intact without the slightest crack.
This very wall would survive over three centuries to the present day. Soon after the first miraculous occurrence, the viceroy ordered the wall destroyed after noticing all the people worshipping it with what seemed like pagan rituals, but strange things would happen to every person that approached the wall with the intention of destroying it or erasing the painting. A painter started trembling and felt goosebumps in fear when he approached the painting. A soldier witnessed the image of Christ become more beautiful and Christ’s crown turn green. People began protesting as they heard about these new miracles and the order was eventually revoked.In 1687, a tsunami destroyed the chapel they had constructed in front of the Señor de los Milagros. Yet again, the painting endured untouched. It was at this point that the Catholic Church recognized its sacredness and began a procession in its honor. They carried an oil-based replica through the streets of Lima, asking Christ to pacify nature’s wrath.
The procession has been an annual event since then. It happens all over Peru and around the world, including Australia, Egypt, Italy, and the United States to name a few countries. Here in Huancayo, companies and schools wake up early in the morning to prepare “carpets” of woodchips along the procession path as the Señor de los Milagros makes a roundtrip pilgrimage to and from the central Catholic church at the main plaza. It’s also tradition to eat turrón (a nougat-type dessert) during purple month — as the story goes, Doña Pepa, an African slave, dreamed of the recipe the night that the Señor de los Milagros cured her of paralysis.
What is the largest tradition, procession, or parade in your city?