Pilgrimage in Mexico Keeps a Cowboy Tradition Alive

2/14/2016 New York Times

Popocatepetl volcano spews ashSILAO, Mexico — Sheathed in colorful woolen ponchos and wearing crisp white hats, the cowboys rode their horses through green fields and blond meadows, holding banners of Christ the King and the Virgin of Guadalupe.

The cowboys were in the midst of a three-day pilgrimage last month through the central highlands of Guanajuato, an 84-mile trip to the mountaintop statue of Christ the King, among the tallest and most sacred in Mexico.

The first pilgrimage began more than 60 years ago, when an ailing cowboy set out to seek salvation at the feet of the statue. Though the region has transformed since then, with family farming giving way to manufacturing, this tradition has grown, attracting thousands of devotees every January. This year, the pilgrimage drew more than 3,000 people, most of them men.

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