Day of “Cristo Negro”

Day of "Cristo Negro"

In 1594, Portuguese sculptor, Quirio Cataño sculpt a Jesus Christ figure upon a request from the Catholic Church in Esquipula. According to one story, the artist used a dark colored wood to sculpt this particular figure to catch a resemblance to the dark skin color of the residents in this region.

Another tale says that it is known as Cristo Nengro, because over 400 years of worship, the wood on which was carved has acquired a dark color like the brown color of the original inhabitants of this region of Guatemala.

Not sure which one is true, but today, mainly in Esquipula, January 15 is celebrated as the day of “Cristo Negro”. While the main address of celebrations is Esquipula, it is also celebrated in Chiquilajá, Quetzaltenango, too. This small town is located near Xela. On a chicken bus of Ruta 11, that can be taken at Parque Benito Juarez in La Democracia, you can reach to this town in 40 minutes.

For further information on the story of Cristo Negro you can read this study or wikipedia article.

Day of "Cristo Negro" Day of "Cristo Negro"

Day of "Cristo Negro" Day of "Cristo Negro"

Day of "Cristo Negro" Day of "Cristo Negro"

Day of "Cristo Negro" Day of "Cristo Negro"

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8 thoughts on “Day of “Cristo Negro”

  1. I just found out that “INRI is an acronym of the Latin inscription ‘IESVS·NAZARENVS·REX·IVDÆORVM’ (Jesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum),
    which translates to English as ‘Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews’.”

    It is the word located on the cross above Jesus’s head.

  2. I love your pictures of the celebration in Chiquilajá!
    There are many replicas of this image. In fact, there´s even one in Chimayó, New Mexico. In Esquipulas, you can buy “panito del Señor” which are small clay tablets that some people believe to have healing power. In Chimayó, people take the clay from a certain part of the shrine, believing it has similar powers.

  3. Pinar, I am curious about the color in your photos. Do you use some sort of filter that makes the light softer (more lavander-ish)? Or is it that the quality of the light in Xela is softer and more purple-blue because it is cloudy much of the time?

    I just notice that Rudy and Arturo’s photos at LADP usually have very vivid colors, while your photos at XDP are more muted. This comes across especially if you look at the LADP market photos vs your market photos.

    1. @Begonia, I don’t use any kind of filter. I have two opinions about the tonal difference that you observed. 1. when you upload photos on the internet you are supposed to tone the pictures more contrasty than usual, and I don’t touch my photos heavily.

      2.LADP photogs might be taking photos in vivid settings which will give you a lot more contrast than neutral settings.

      I don’t know if there is anything else that will cause this much tonal difference.

  4. @Begonia, in my case I use a polarizing filter whenever possible to have rich saturated colors. Other times I use the vivid setting in the camera to obtain similar results. Furthermore, we have much nicer and richer light in Antigua than Xela does. 😛

    No, seriously, another reason is that light is bouncing off lime-stone-paints which have shine, similar to pearls, so that is how you get some incredible colors as light changes through the day. Also, add the volcanic dust coming off from Volcán de Fuego almost everyday which gives the light warmer tone.

    1. @Begonia, Rudy is right about the light difference between Antigua and Xela. There is almost always a cast in Xela these days. During rainy season, there was better light though.

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