Although this tradition concerns the Catholic community in particular, it has become one of the most relevant events among the annual celebrations, since it is attended by a considerable number Costa Ricans.
It consists of a pilgrimage to the Basilica de Los Angeles located in the city of Cartago Costa Rica intended to worship the Virgin of Los Angeles (nominated the official saint of Costa Rica by Pope John Paul II).
It is estimated that each year about 2 million people walk 22 kilometers from San Jose to the Basilica de los Angeles Church in Cartago on the 1st of August. The devotees who depart from their place of residence start the walk several days before.
Since Costa Rica is a religious country, on August 2nd a solemn mass is held at the Basilica´s patio in the presence of the Archbishop, dozens of priests and government officials such as the President of Costa Rica and many of her ministers, as well as a great number of devotees.
The Meaning of This Tradition
Worshipers of la Negrita de Los Angeles walk to the Basilica in order to thank for miracles or to ask for favors. It is common for devotees of all ages to knee walk from the entrance of the church to the altar.
In addition, people like to visit a famous stone where an image of the Virgen de los Angeles presumptuously appeared as well as to collect
“holy water” from the fountain, which is believed to have special properties to improve the health of people and foster their “spiritual purity”.
This year local, health and safety authorities are ready to operate to secure the welfare of the pilgrims. The preparation of these service units began three months ago and the municipal costs have reached ¢ 50 million.
“These expenses include food, gasoline, overtime payroll and hiring additional staff for cleaning,” said the mayor of Cartago, Rolando Rodriguez.
“Some 1,100 officials will work during the busiest day: August 1st, and a total of nine guard towers will be installed on the route to the Basilica.
The Costa Rica News (TCRN)
San Jose, Costa Rica