Apparition of the Infant Jesus

Apparition of the Infant Jesus

September 18
The ancient Villa de Eten in Peru is inhabited by many descendants of the Mochicas—a pre-Inca culture that flourished in northern Peru from the 3rd century b.c.e. to the 7th century c.e. Town residents still speak the ancient Mochica language, preserved in no other place in Peru. Two of their most important fiestas celebrate the apparitions of the infant Jesus, which took place on June 2 and September 18, 1649. After the second apparition, a tidal wave destroyed the village. The chapel of the apparitions, however, remained standing. Hence the villagers named it La Capilla de los Milagros (Chapel of the Miracles).
Townsfolk host a three-day festival commemorating this event, beginning on September 18. Preparations for the fiesta, which include candle making and other festive pursuits, begin several weeks beforehand. A special mass is held on the eve of the fiesta, and it is followed by fireworks and lighted balloons. Festivities continue the following day with a procession to the chapel with the images of Mary Magdalene, St. Peter holding the keys to heaven, and Senor del Mar (Lord of the Sea). Dance groups accompany the procession, each performing to its own tunes and wearing its own distinctive costumes. When the procession returns from the chapel, it stops at altars that have been set up along the way. A huge wheel of fireworks is set off when the procession reaches the church.
CONTACTS:
Commission for the Promotion of Peru
Calle Uno Oeste No. 50, piso 13th
Urb. Corpac
Lima, 27 Peru
51-1-4224-3131; fax: 51-1-224-7134
www.promperu.gob.pe
SOURCES:
FiestaTime-1965, p. 148