Pilgrimage to Chalma

Pilgrimage to Chalma

January 1-5
Chalma is a small Mexican town located in a deep canyon. Five hundred years ago, the Aztecs made pilgrimages to a nearby cave, where they brought offerings of flowers and incense to a stone idol known as Otzocteotl, God of the Caves. After the Spanish conquest of Mexico, two Augustinian missionaries attempted to convert the people to Christianity but failed. Finally they brought a large cross made of wood to the cave, hoping to erect it in place of the idol. But when they entered, they found the stone image smashed to pieces and, in the place where it stood, a life-sized crucifix. As the local people learned of this remarkable occurrence, they were quickly converted to Christianity.
The cave became such a popular place of pilgrimage that in 1683, the image of Christ, known as the Señor de Chalma, was moved to the altar of a church that had just been built to house it. This is where pilgrims from all over Mexico come during the first five days of January to ask the Señor's blessing for the coming year and to express their gratitude for the favors he has granted them in the year that has just ended. Pilgrimages also take place in February, August, September, and often during Holy Week and at Christmas.
CONTACTS:
Mexico Tourism Board
21 E. 63rd St., Fl. 3
New York, NY 10021
800-446-3942 or 212-821-0314; fax: 212-821-0367
www.visitmexico.com
SOURCES:
FiestaTime-1965, p. 3