Christians flock to 'Tree ear church' to honour mushroom marked with Christ's image

C/U Shrine containing petrified tree-ear mushroom, writing reading in Spanish «Lord of the Tree Ear», ChignahuapanC/U Petrified tree ear mushroomM/S Devotee kissing shrine containing petrified tree ear mushroomW/S Shrine containing petrified tree ear mushroomC/U Petrified tree ear mushroomM/S Devotee kissing shrine containing petrified tree ear mushroomW/S Interior of Iglesia del Honguito (Church... Еще of the Tree ear)W/S Devotees on horsebackW/S Devotees paradingM/S Carriage carrying statue of Apostle JamesW/S Devotees parading on horseback, holding corn cropsM/S Devotees paradingW/S Priest holding massM/S Priest holding massW/S Dressed up devotees, holding banner representing Apostle James and Virgin Mary among corn cropsW/S DevoteesW/S Statue of Apostle James surrounded by corn cropsM/S Statue of Apostle James surrounded by corn cropsW/S Masked devoteesW/S Dressed up devotees kneeling during MassM/S Devotees risingW/S Dressed up devotees, holding banner representing Apostle James and Virgin Mary among corn cropsW/S Masked devoteesW/S MassM/S Dressed up devoteesM/S Dressed up devoteesM/S Masked devotee applaudingM/S Masked devoteeM/S Masked devotee holding stuffed raccoonM/S Devotee holding banner representing Apostle James on horsebackM/S DevoteesM/S Masked devotee M/S Devotee holding banner representing Apostle James on horsebackSCRIPTScores of devotees clad in traditional apparel gathered in the south-eastern town of Chignahuapan, Monday, to honour a local shrine containing a petrified mushroom, that they see as marked with the image of Jesus Christ.Worshippers entered the Iglesia del Honguito, the Spanish name for the Church of the Tree Ear, and paid tribute to the mushroom by kissing the shrine.Many devotees then participated in a mass and procession dedicated to the St James, where people paraded through the streets of the town on horseback, carrying corn crops in their hands and following a carriage carrying the statue of the saint. Legend has it that at the end of the 19th century a peasant looking for mushrooms to eat found the tree-ear fungus and recognised the image of Jesus Christ on the cross in the bruises on the mushroom's skin. Locals later erected the Church of the Tree Ear on the site where the fungus was believed to be found by the peasant.

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