Why is October known as the Purple Month in Lima?
Because Lima hosts the Procession of the Lord of Miracles, a Catholic feast with over 350 years of existence. But, what is the Lord of Miracles? How its devotion was born? Why is it so famous? And why everything turns purple?
Around the year 1650, some black slaves from Angola, who lived in the neighborhood of Pachacamilla, in Lima, painted in one of the walls of their home, an image of a crucified Christ.
On November, 1655 a large earthquake struck the city of Lima, causing destruction in almost all the city, however, the wall and the image of the crucified Christ painted by the Angolan slave, remained intact, without any harm.
This prodigious event started the popular cult of the Lord of Miracles, spreading rapidly among the local congregation without the permission of the parish priest, for this reason, he asked the authorities to demolish the wall to avoid any profane act.
However, the destruction could not be met due to circumstances out of the ordinary, and the wall with the painting of Christ continued to gain the prestige and the favor of the people.
In the year 1661 Antonio de Leon was interested in the image of Christ and improved facilities of the place. He was suffering from a malignant tumor and each time he visited the place, he requested the grace to be healed, until he got it.
Today, in the wall has been improved, and around it, it has been constructed the Nazarenas Church, home of the Lord of Miracles.
Every year the procession of the Lord of the miracles becomes larger and lovely old litters have been replaced by silver ones, which a have room in the monastery where they are kept under the care of special personnel.
The first procession of Pachacamilla Christ (aka Lord of Miracles) occurred in 1687, when another earthquake shook Lima again.
It is for this reason that Sebastian Antuñano made a copy of the Christ contained in the wall into a canvas and pulled him out in a procession around the streets of the city.
The day people remembered the first anniversary of the earthquake of October 28, 1746, began the tradition of taking the image in procession on October 28, visiting streets, temples and monasteries.
The Lord of Miracles celebration begins with a first transfer, inside the monastery to his Nazarene Shrine on the first Saturday of October. The most important and traditional days are 18 and 19, where the sacred image runs much of the old city, past the Plaza Mayor, receiving tributes from the main state, public and private institutions.
The 28 is the last great procession, where the Lord visit the main hospitals of the capital, the festival ends on November 1, where the Lord briefly runs through his neighborhood to be transferred back to the monastery where he will stay until next year.
The feast of October is so large in Lima that it has spread to virtually all the districts of the big city, as well as other countries where Peruvians reside. It has been considered by the Osservatore Romano from 1993, as the biggest procession and demonstration of faith in the world.
Why the Color Purple?
According to the chroniclers, a woman named Antonia Maldonado, originally from Guayaquil, came to Peru and settled in Callao. At the age of 20 she was forced by her mother to marry the nobleman Alonso Quintanilla, as they say, marriage was never consummated by the enormous spirit of service to Christ which she kept.
Alonso was attacked by a strange disease and died suddenly leaving widow to Ms. Antonia, a circumstance that allowed her to devote herself full-time to what was her true vocation: to serve Christ. Therefore, she founded the beguinage of Nazarenas whose habit was purple.
Dona Antonia was offered a house next to the Lord of Miracles Chapel and from that moment her destiny and the one of her congregation, was to take care of Christ of Pachacamilla. Always dressed in purple habit that, until today symbolizes absolute devotion to the Lord of Miracles.
Sweet Tradition: Doña Pepa Nougat
In October, the entire city of Lima is filled with a colorful dessert; Doña Pepa nougat.
According to the tradition, in the late eighteenth century, Josefa Marmanillo, (aka Doña Pepa) a slave from the nearby valley of Canete, began to suffer paralysis in the arms, a disease that allowed it to be free from slavery, but-at the same time she could not work- in such circumstances she heard rumors about the miracles that carried the image of Pachacamilla Christ. She traveled to Lima, and so her faith and devotion that she recovered from her illness, and in gratitude, she created the sweet dedicated to Lord of Miracles.
In the next Procession, Josefa lifted the nougat offering it to the Lord. Upon her return to Cañete, the slave assured that the Christ had looked at her smiling, while he blessed the offering. After that year, she always returned to Lima each year, to offer the Nougat to the Lord and to all the people that followed him.
Since then, the Doña Pepa Nougat, invade the streets of the city, inviting own and strangers to eat this delicious limeñan sweet.