Marian celebrations popular throughout Chile

  • The baile "Gitanos (gypsies) del Constantino Guzman" from Arica lines up its image of the Virgin before the plaza in anticipation of its entrance to La Tirana at the plaza of the Cross of Calvary.
  • The Virgin of the 40 Hours comes out of the church one day a year, in a procession to the city prison in Limache, Chile.

Marian spirituality is especially important in Chile. Major devotions and Marian celebrations take place at sites throughout Chile:

  • The Virgin of Carmen is celebrated as the patroness of Chile, notably celebrated at a huge annual July 16th celebration at La Tirana in the far north of Chile, known for the many groups who dance before the Virgin.
  • At the Marian sanctuary at Lo Vásquez, hundreds of thousands of people walk or bicycle from Santiago or Valparaíso to celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8. The main highway between the two largest metropolitan areas of the country is closed to accommodate them, as are numerous other roads in the region.
  • The cult and celebration of Our Lady of Andacollo, centered in a mining community to the north, has its origins among indigenous miners, and is marked on the first Sunday in October and in the days around Christmas. It is said to draw as many as 500,000 people a year.
  • A smaller, but locally significant devotion takes place at the end of the summer in Limache, a small city in the Valparaíso region of Chile. The Feast of the Virgin of the 40 Hours marks the 40 hours’ devotion before the start of Lent with Masses, a commercial fair, and a procession to the city prison, where there is a touching exchange of prayers, songs and gifts among the clergy, community, and incarcerated.
  • Marian sites in Chile often derive from appearances of the statues themselves, not from apparitions of the Virgin that were later commemorated with statues. In one such case, Andacollo, an indigenous miner, is said to have twice heard a call from the Virgin, which led him to find the statue.

One devotee, asked why Mary received such devotion, simply responded, “Because she was Jesus’ mother. Isn’t that reason enough?”

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