Lima’s biggest festival is El Señor de los Milagros (The Lord of Miracles), which draws as many as a half million people on its main days of October 18 and 28 and is accompanied by bullfights at Plaza de Acho. The processions begin in central Lima at Iglesia Las Nazarenas (Tacna and Huancavelica), which was built atop a wall where a black slave painted an image of Christ in the 17th century.
The wall was the only thing left standing after a 1755 earthquake, prompting this annual festival in October, the month when Lima’s worst earthquakes have traditionally struck. To this day a brotherhood of priests of mainly African descent care for the image, which some anthropologists say is related to the pre-Hispanic cult of Pachacámac.
Other good festivals include Lima’s anniversary on January 18, the Feast of the Crosses up San Cristóbal on May 3, the Feast of Santa Rosa de Lima on August 30, and Día de la Canción Criolla (Creole Music Day) on October 30, when peñas hold a variety of concerts around the city.
Peruvian paso horse competitions are held in the Lurín Valley south of Lima and are highly recommended. These include the Peruvian Paso Horse Competition in February, a national competition in Mamacona in April, and the Amancaes competition, also in Mamacona, in July. For more information see the website www.yachay.com.pe/especiales/caballos (Spanish-only).
© Ross Wehner and Renée del Gaudio from Moon Peru, 3rd Edition