The feast of Señor y Virgen del Milagro – the Lord and Virgin of the Miracle – celebrated in Salta, Argentina since 1692, is by far the biggest religious gathering in Argentina, and perhaps the largest annual Catholic assembly on the continent.
The image of the Señor del Milagro, a statue of the crucifixion, dates to the late 16th century. Like a number of prominent images in Latin America, its origin is attributed to a mystery. It was was found floating in a wooden box in the sea, bearing markings that it was destined for Salta, though there was no sign of the ship that brought it. The image of the Virgin was brought to Salta some time afterwards. In 1692, when an earthquake struck Salta, the image of the Virgen del Milagro was found in the church at the feet of the Señor, both images undamaged in an otherwise ruined church. The clergy and people brought the images outside of the church for veneration, attributed their survival to these patrons’ miraculous intercession, and began a tradition of processions to give thanks and pray for the wellbeing of the city.