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Published: September 19th 2007
Pilgrims come from all over the Northwest of Argentina, many walking for days to get to Salta.
La Fiesta del Señor y la Virgen del Milagro is the biggest religious festival in the North of Argentina. It saw groups of devout Catholics walk from miles around, some of them for days on end, to pay homage to the images of Christ and the Virgin Mary. The story goes that 400 years ago these images staved off earthquakes and saved the city of Salta. On 15 September each year this miracle is commemorated.
So we two non-Catholics decided to join in and see what it was all about. There were, according to the press, 450,000 people in the plaza. At one stage we thought we would never get to the plaza, but knowing the short-cuts through shopping arcades helped and we were able to get a reasonably uncrowded spot. Then we waited, and waited, and waited! The bell ringers made so much noise we couldn't hear the mass or the announcements, but as soon as the first icon left the cathedral at 4.15 the crowd became animated and white hankies were waved with aplomb! At times there was a surge as little old ladies tried to push closer to the front. It was quite a bizarre experience to
It was almost impossible to get to the plaza at all!
be shoved out of the way by an octogenarian keen for a closer look at a 400 year old statue of Christ!
It was an interesting experience, but I think you have to be a devout Catholic to really understand the attraction of such an occasion. Instead of hanging around the plaza waiting for the procession to take the images around the city and return to the cathedral in a shower of flower petals, we headed to the cinema! The Bourne Ultimatum was pretty good!!
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