As it happens in all the regions of Peru, Arequipa is a city strongly marked by the religion the Spanish conquerors imposed in our country. The White City has its own patron, the Virgin of La Candelaria of Chapi, better known as Virgin of Chapi, an statue that is venerated every First of May by thousands of people.
It does not matter if you are Catholic or not, if you are visiting Arequipa at this time, you can not miss this tradition!
Where does the Virgin of Chapi come from?
Like many other religious images of Peru, it is believed that the Virgin of Chapi came directly from Spain in the eighteenth century, from the hand of Jesuit or Franciscan monks. Years later, the Virgin was found on a hill by Arequipa citizens and she was moved to the village of Pocsi, in the Chapi Valley.
As most religious stories, the Virgin of Chapi also has several miracles behind her back. According to the faithful, the bishop of Pocsi ordered to transfer de Virgin to a village called Sogay, but in a break in the way, the people in charge of transporting the statue tried to carry it without success: the virgin had decided to stay in that place. This was taken as a miracle and they decided to build a hermitage dedicated to her right there.
Also, the most devout say that the Virgin of Chapi survived various earthquakes and fires, which gave her great fame and increase the number of faithful in the White City.
What will you find during the celebration of the Virgin of Chapi?
A great party awaits you in Arequipa during these days! The Polobaya district, 90 km south of the White City and where the temple dedicated to the Virgin of Chapi is currently located, is the setting for this great celebration that gathers thousands of devotees every year.
Although the central day is the First of May, the activities last around three days, in which Polobaya receives thousands of people, who travel 15 km from the Chapi ravine to reach the temple and, even, those who arrive in procession from the city of Arequipa!
This three days not only have religious events; in addition to processions and masses, you will enjoy concerts of popular music, delicious cuisine, fireworks and much more. An unmissable opportunity to know the customs and traditions of Arequipa!
If you are in Arequipa during these days, spend some hours to see the Virgin of Chapi! And if you need a place to stay, we wait for you at Tierra Viva Arequipa Plaza, a hotel located just one block away from the Plaza de Armas of Arequipa, with everything you need to enjoy the White City!