Some 100,000 Catholics gathered in the northern Peruvian city of Otuzco to celebrate the feast day of Our Lady of the Gate on Dec. 15.
Otuzco – located 8,000 feet above sea level in the Andean region of La Libertad – welcomed the crowds, who prayed, sang and performed traditional dances.
Participants crafted and donated hundreds of different vestments for the statue of Our Lady of the Door, with enough for the figure to be decorated each year until 2022.
According to local history, Dutch pirate ships arrived at the Peruvian port city of Trujillo in 1674 to continue the pillaging they began in Guayaquil and Sana. Residents became alarmed and sent messengers to all the neighboring towns to warn of the danger, including the city of Otuzco.
Citizens in Otuzco decided to place a state of the Immaculate Conception at the entrance gate to the city. For three days, they prayed to the Virgin Mary and the pirates never disembarked from their ships.
The event was seen as miracle and the people of Otuzco decided to build a shrine on the spot where the statue had been placed and dedicate it to Our Lady of the Gate.