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The Black Christ and the crimson flower in Cusco

The Black Christ and the crimson flower in Cusco

If we talk about religion, in Cusco (and throughout Peru) there is a mixture of beliefs brought by the Spanish conquerors and the Andean ones of the pre-Hispanic era. An example of this is the history of the Black Christ and the crimson flower, a legend that is hides in the Cathedral of the Plaza de Armas of Cusco.

Keep reading and learn about all the details of one of the most emblematic stories of the Imperial City. You’ll want to transport yourself to Cusco right now!

 

The Lord of the Earthquakes or Black Christ, one of the biggest processions of Cusco

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The Lord of the Earthquakes, Black Christ or Taitacha of the Earthquake is an image of the crucified Christ that was created in Cusco around 1620. It is copy of a work that King Felipe II of Spain order to create for the Imperial City, but the real one remained in the way, in the province of Mollepata.

The color was not choose by accident: the Spanish conquerors had the mission to evangelize the entire population of America, and, to make the people feel more identified with the image of Jesus, they created this Christ, dark in color and with indigenous features.

The Black Christ occupied an inconspicuous space in the Cathedral Basilica of Cusco and he was known as the Lord of the Good Death. But on March 31st 1650 everything changed for the Taitacha de los Temblores. That day, after a strong earthquake in which more than 5,000 people died, the Cusqueños faithful took this Christ in procession and, according to the story, at that moment stopped the aftershocks or tremors. Thus, the Lord of the Earthquakes was baptized with this new name.

In addition, the story say that the Lord of the Earthquakes also ended the plague that struck Cusco in 1720, so he was appointed as Jury Pattern of Cusco, displacing the patron Santiago.

Thus, from 1650 to 1741, the Black Christ was the protagonist of a great procession that took place annually in the Imperial City. However, from 1741 to the present that same procession takes place on Holy Monday, the day that begins the Holy Week. So, if you plan to travel to Cusco during this date, you can not miss this event of great religious syncretism!

 

The crimson flower, the great companion of the Black Christ

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We can not talk about the Black Christ of Cusco without mentioning his great companion: the crimson flower. The ñucchu is a native flower of this region that grows in the heights during the rainy season (from November to April) and that has a deep crimson red color.

Some of the most devout Cusquenians travel to Sacsayhuamán or Poroy before the procession to collect a large amount of ñucchu and take it to Cusco.

During the procession of Holy Monday, the crown of the Black Christ is adorned with this flower and the faithful who accompany the Lord of the Earthquakes throw handfuls of ñucchu in their path.

According to local religious, the crimson flower was chosen as the companion of the Black Christ because in its center it has shape of cross, which represents the passion of Jesus Christ. In addition, the red color is related to the blood shed by the Lord as love to his faithful.

See the Black Christ walking through the streets of Cusco, accompanied by the faithful and a shower of crimson flowers leaves precious images year after year. So, whether you are a believer or not, if you are lucky enough to be in the Imperial City during these dates, do not hesitate and be part of this procession, which reflects to the maximum the mix of Christian and Andean traditions of Cusco.

And if you want to enjoy a party like this but you will not be in Cusco during Holy Week, here we leave you an article with five events that you have to see and live in this city. Choose the one you like the most and come visit us!

 

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