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Mamacha Belén, Cusco, Peru

Commemorated on Second Thursday Pentecost
Mamacha Belén, Cusco, Peru
The story goes that in the mid-1500s, fishermen from the town of San Miguel found a large casket floating on the sea. They brought it ashore and found inside a beautiful sculpture with the message, "Image of the Virgin of Bethlehem for the city of Cusco." Prelates took the image to Cusco, the Incan capital high in the Andes, installing it there in the Church of the Royal Magi, which then changed its name to Our Lady of Bethlehem. After the devastating 1650 earthquake, the church's reconstruction was completed in 1715. Canonically crowned December 8, 1933, the Virgin's statue is carried in procession on or around St. Sebastian's day, January 20, and on the feast of Corpus Christi along with images of other saints and madonnas. On Pentecost Sunday,  the Bajada or descent of the Virgin of Bethlehem's statue takes place. Together with that of St. Joseph, men carry the Virgin's statue on a heavy silver platform from Bethlehem Church to the Convent of Santa Clara, where it is bedecked with jewels for the Corpus Christi procession, when it travels to the cathedral. One week later, the statue returns to Bethlehem Church. Local believers usually call the Virgin of Bethlehem "Mamacha Belén." Mamacha is a Quechuan term that means both "dear little mama" and "Peruvian country woman," signifying the filial love of the people for the Virgin they feel is one of their own.   
Sources include:
 
"Nuestra Señora de Belén," El Perú necesita de Fátima, www.fatima.org.pe/seccion-verarticulo-109.html
"ENERO&FEBRERO... San Sebastian, Virgen de Belén, Virgen Purificada y San Blas 2011," Semana Santa Del Cusco, semanasantacusco.blogspot.com/2011/02/enero-san-sebastian-virgen-de-belen.html (picture)
"blusas de mamacha (Perú)," WordReference Forums, forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=2010826

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