Dia de la Virgin de los Angeles

Los Angeles Travel Blog

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The umbrellas are to protect from the hot sun. Miraculously, this was the only day it didn't rain during my whole trip. Maybe La Virgin had something to do with that???!!

i don't know all the historical details, and i won't look them up right now, because it will take away the context of my experience. But, from what i know, in 1635 a rock spoke to a girl in Cartago. The rock was shaped like the Virgin Mary. She freaked out and told her priest. Her priest went to see it for himself, and sure enough, the Virgin Mary rock spoke to him, too. This rock is known as La Virgin de los Angeles or La Negrita, which in English means the Black Madonna. She is also the patron saint of Costa Rica. This history might not be totally accurate. If you're interested in the story, look it up, because i'm not an encyclopedia, haha.

So to commemorate the arrival of the Virgin Mary through a talking rock, Ticos take a mecca each year on the 2nd of August, which was easy for me to remember because it's my Dad's birthday.

Or is it the 3rd? Well, anyway, that is the same day the rock spoke to little Juana and her priest hundreds of years ago. A basilica was built around the rock, which supposedly is in the same place Juana found it in 1635.

Now pilgrims come from everywhere in the country to visit the basilica. And the dedicated ones don't drive. They walk. They walk to show their dedication. And they come from everywhere. We would see them walking along the international highway for weeks -- because you can't walk from Liberia to Cartago in a day. No, it takes weeks. It's kind of like the pilgrimage to Saint James in Spain if anyone's familiar with that.

Well, i wasn't prepared to walk to Cartago. Maybe next time. But i had to work and travel the country (what better way to travel than to walk from San Ramon to Cartago, Jim? Jaja) and stuff.

Carla and Felix. Felix walked the six miles for La Virgin with no shoes on so he could "suffer the way Jesus did." i kept my shoes on. And i don't know how he kept so happy, his feet were definitely bleeding pretty bad.
But i did walk to the nearby city of Los Angeles.

The people of San Ramon that don't go to Cartago go to Los Angeles. And when i say the people, i mean the entire city. It would be the perfect day for criminals to rob houses, because the whole city is in another city. But even criminals seem to respect La Negrita. I stood outside taking photos for 5 minutes to show how this flood of people just kept coming.

I would estimate that Los Angeles is about 7 miles away. i really don't remember. But i do remember that we had to walk winding roads up and down mountains. i also remember that Felix decided to make the trek barefoot. i have photographic evidence of that feat. He told me he chose to walk it barefoot so he could "suffer the way Jesus Christ did when he died for our sins.

Mariachis performing "Ave Maria." The whole six miles, i was just thinking, "Can't you guys learn some more songs? Play Freebird!" Just kidding, they were great.
" i kept my shoes on, but i still couldn't feel my big toes for the next two weeks.

Somehow we got stuck behing the mariachis playing "Ave Maria." They wouldn't play "Free Bird" or "Stairway to Heaven" or even the simple power chords of "Smells Like Teen Spirit." No, they only played "Ave Maria." And they played it for 7 miles. Needless to say, i've heard "Ave Maria" enough times to skip church for the rest of my life. No, i'm kidding, it was cool.

The mariachis followed a church van that announced things through a megaphone in static-filled Spanish. i didn't understand a word of what they said. The church van also had a golden-plated replica of La Virgin de los Angeles. You will notice in my photos that i don't have any close-ups of this Virgin Mary replica.

If you hadn't noticed, then i just made you notice now. You may be wondering now why i don't have any close-ups of this important part of the ceremony.

Funny story. Every time i shot a close-up photo of the statue of the Virgin Mary, my camera shut off and didn't take the photograph. This happened at least five times until i got creeped out and stopped trying. And these weren't all shots in a row. i turned the camera back on and tried right away. It shut off. "Oh, maybe the batteries are dead," i thought. i turned the camera back on and took a quick photo of Felix and Carla. It worked. I focused on the statue and took a shot. The camera shut off again. "Weird," i thought to myself.

A couple miles down the road, there was a "Minisuper," also known as a "Pulperia" (which i confused on my first day with a place that might sell "pulpo" jaja), or, in English, a miniature supermarket, i guess.

DIA DE LA VIRGIN DE LOS ANGELES!!! We didn't walk to Cartago like many people choose to do, because it would have taken too long and i had to work. Instead, we walked to a city call Los Angeles, about 6 miles away.
But ours are usually gas stations. Anyway, just my luck, they had the batteries i needed. i went outside and took another shot of the crowd, and, yes, the batteries functioned properly. i caught up with the church van (can you tell where this is going?) and tried to get a photo of the Virgin. Again, my camera shut off. That time it scared me, so it was the last time i tried. Maybe it was coincidence, maybe it was a sign. If it was a coincidence, i don't know what the odds are. If it was a sign, i still don't know what the sign was telling me. You can call it whatever you'd like.

Finally, we arrived at the Los Angeles cathedral where Magaly was waiting for me. (She took a bus up with her boss and her boss's boyfriend.) That's when i learned of the other side of this crazy holiday: It was like Christmas and St.

Hours later, we finally made it to the church.
Patrick's Day rolled into one. i guess only gringos will understand that analogy. When the church people go home, the young people stay out and party. And they party it up! Everyone was just completely wasted there. i don't know if that's how other towns celebrate, but this one sure did. i totally recommend that if anyone visits Costa Rica, they should make sure to keep the 2nd of August open.

OK, no more typing! There are waaaay too many stories! Great country. Great time. Pura vida sums it up wonderfully.

The End.

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The umbrellas are to protect from …
The umbrellas are to protect from…
Carla and Felix. Felix walked the …
Carla and Felix. Felix walked the…
Mariachis performing Ave Maria. …
Mariachis performing "Ave Maria."…
Hours later, we finally made it to…
Hours later, we finally made it t…
On August 3, please take part in t…
On August 3, please take part in …
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photo by: JimLNA