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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 all of Peru), the beliefs brought by the Spanish  conquistadores are mixed with the Andean’s faith from the prehispanic era, creating a religion full of mysticism. An example of this is the Black Christ and the Crimson Flower, a legend that is hidden no less than in the Cathedral of the Plaza de Armas of Cusco.

Continue reading to learn about all of the details of one of the most emblematic stories of the Imperial City. You will want to be in Cusco as we speak!


The Christ of Tremors or Black Christ, One of the Biggest Processions of Cusco


El Señor de los Temblores, Cristo Negro or Taitacha de los Temblores is an image of Christ crucified that was created in Cusco around 1620, it was a copy of an artwork sent to be constructed by King Phillip II of Spain that had the Imperial City as its destination but was left behind in the Mollepata province.

Its color is not a coincidence. The Spanish conquistadores had the mission to evangelize all of America’s population and for them to feel more identified with the image of Christ crucified, this dark-colored Christ with indiginous features was created.

The Black Christ occupied an unattractive place in the Shrine Cathedral of Cusco and by then, it was known as the Señor de la Buena Muerte. But by March 31st of 1650, everything changed for the Taitacha de los Temblores. That day, after a big earthquake that produced more than 5,000 deaths, the devotees from Cusco took this Christ in a procession and, according to what the story says, it was in this moment that the aftershocks and tremors stopped. This is how he was baptized with his new name: el Señor de los Temblores.

It is also said that the Señor de los Temblores was in charge of eliminating the plague epidemic that lashed against Cusco in 1720 so he was named Patron Jurado del Cusco, replacing Patron Santiago.

So, from 1650 to 1741, the Black Christ was the main character of a great procession that took place annually in the Imperial City. However, since 1741 to this day, this same procession takes place on Holy Monday, day in which Holy Week begins. So if you are planning on traveling to Cusco during this date, you cannot miss this event of great religious syncretism!


The Crimson Red Flower, the Great Companion of the Black Christ


We cannot mention the Cristo Negro without introducing his great companion: the Flor de Carmesí. The ñucchu is a flower from this region of our country that grows in altitude during rainy season (from November to April) and has a bright crimson red color.

Some of the devotees from Cusco travel all the way to Sacsayhuaman or Poroy before the procession and pick a great amount of ñucchu to take them back to Cusco where they will be displayed in the exiting of the Christ.

During the procession of Holy Monday, the Black Christ’s crown is adorned with these flowers and the faithful that accompany the Señor de los Temblores throw a handful of  ñucchu in his passing by.

According to the religious people from the area, this crimson flower was chosen as Black Christ’s companion because in the middle it is shaped like a cross, which represents Jesus Christ’s passion and also because the color red is related to the blood spilled by the Lord as a sign of love for his devotees.

To see the Black Christ being exposed throughout the Cusco streets accompanied by his devotees and by a shower of crimson red flowers leave gorgeous images year after year. If you are a believer or not, and if you have the luck of being in the Imperial City during these dates, do not hesitate and be part of this procession that reflects the mixture of Christian and Andean traditions of the Cusco society to the utmost.

And if you have the desire to enjoy a festivity like this one but will not be present in Cusco during Holy Week, we leave you an article with five celebrations you have to experience in this city. Choose the one you like the most and come visit us!