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Image of Black Christ

Valle de Bravo

While walking though Valle de Bravo, the Temple of Santa María de Ahuacatlán is a mandatory stop for religious tourism enthusiasts. It houses the image of a black Christ that many consider miraculous and that attracts one of the largest and most important pilgrimages in Mexico each year.

The reason behind the color of this religious sculpture remains a mystery, though there are a number of legends that attempt to account for it. When you visit the temple, you'll no doubt find both guides and locals eager to tell you their versions.

One of the most popular legends holds that, during the colonial period, two rival indigenous groups lived in the area. One group worked at the San Gaspar Hacienda and the other worked in the Santa María Ahuacatlán neighborhood.

One day, the owner of the hacienda had a chapel built and adorned with a giant wooden Christ made in Spain. Not long after this, the workers began to claim that the icon was miraculous and that, for requests to be fulfilled, all you had to do was make the request and caress his feet.

After seeing that the chapel was visited by thousands of parishioners, the owner chose to donate the Christ to the town, on the condition that they build a chapel outside of the hacienda’s manor in order to house it.

As such, on the third of May, the San Gaspar workers inaugurated the temple. During the party, a dispute broke out between the rival groups and the Santa María Ahuacatlán group set fire to the chapel. Everything was consumed by the flames, with the exception of the wooden Christ. When they rescued it from the rubble, they discovered that it had been blackened and found that it was impossible to clean.

The image has been worshipped since then. Indeed, it was exhibited without a display case for a long time. However, its devotees began to wear down its feet, looking for miracles, and it had to be restored and once again protected inside a display case.

The pilgrimage to the temple every third of May is a tradition that remains alive and well. If you visit Valle de Bravo on this day, you will witness a multitudinous popular festival.

While walking though Valle de Bravo, the Temple of Santa María de Ahuacatlán is a mandatory stop for religious tourism enthusiasts. It houses the image of a black Christ that many consider miraculous and that attracts one of the largest and most important pilgrimages in Mexico each year.

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The reason behind the color of this religious sculpture remains a mystery, though there are a number of legends that attempt to account for it. When you visit the temple, you'll no doubt find both guides and locals eager to tell you their versions.

One of the most popular legends holds that, during the colonial period, two rival indigenous groups lived in the area. One group worked at the San Gaspar Hacienda and the other worked in the Santa María Ahuacatlán neighborhood.

One day, the owner of the hacienda had a chapel built and adorned with a giant wooden Christ made in Spain. Not long after this, the workers began to claim that the icon was miraculous and that, for requests to be fulfilled, all you had to do was make the request and caress his feet.

After seeing that the chapel was visited by thousands of parishioners, the owner chose to donate the Christ to the town, on the condition that they build a chapel outside of the hacienda’s manor in order to house it.

As such, on the third of May, the San Gaspar workers inaugurated the temple. During the party, a dispute broke out between the rival groups and the Santa María Ahuacatlán group set fire to the chapel. Everything was consumed by the flames, with the exception of the wooden Christ. When they rescued it from the rubble, they discovered that it had been blackened and found that it was impossible to clean.

The image has been worshipped since then. Indeed, it was exhibited without a display case for a long time. However, its devotees began to wear down its feet, looking for miracles, and it had to be restored and once again protected inside a display case.

The pilgrimage to the temple every third of May is a tradition that remains alive and well. If you visit Valle de Bravo on this day, you will witness a multitudinous popular festival.

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