August 2 is a special day in Costa Rica dedicated to honouring the Lady of the Angels, also known as Virgen de Los Angeles. This festival is one of the most important celebrations in Costa Rica, comparable only to Christmas and Easter.
Virgin of Los Angles Day History
The Virgin of Los Angeles Day, also known as Virgen de Los Angeles Day, is a significant Costa Rican celebration after Christmas and Easter.
Costa Rican culture and religious beliefs celebrate 'La Negrita' or 'The Black Virgin,' an indigenous or mixed-race portrayal of the Virgin Mary, the country's patron saint. The modest figurine stands less than three feet tall and is accompanied by a tale.
According to legend, a peasant girl in Cartago found a figurine of the Virgin Mary holding the infant Jesus on a rock. She took it home, but the sculpture disappeared the next day. It is said to have reappeared on the rock. She gave it to a priest, who put it in a box, but the statue disappeared and reappeared on the rock.
Due to repeated earthquakes, a shrine was built around the chapel where the figurine was meant to be placed. Later, the shrine was converted into the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles.
A peasant girl discovers La Negrita, Costa Rica's patron saint, in Cartago in 1635.
The Basílica de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles was built around the rock where La Negrita appeared in 1639 by people.
Costa Rica declared the Virgin Mary's Statuette as its patron saint in 1824.
The Basilica was damaged by earthquakes and rebuilt in 1939 after restoration.
How is the Virgin of Los Angeles commemorated?
Thousands of Costa Ricans visit La Negrita annually on Virgen de Los Angeles to offer their respects.
What is the significance of Virgen de Los Angeles?
Costa Ricans observe Virgen de los Ángeles honour and pay homage to La Negrita.
Where is La Basílica de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles?
The Basilica is located in the centre of Cartago, Costa Rica.
Virgin of Los Angeles Day Events
Go on a pilgrimage: On this day, locals and tourists embark on walking pilgrimages. Go on a pilgrimage to the church to celebrate like the Costa Ricans.
Keep an eye on the celebrations: Even if you don't want to participate, go to Cartago and observe how the people celebrate. Take in the local culture and expressions of Costa Rican beliefs.
Take a drink from the brook: A creek near the Basilica is said to have therapeutic properties. You can go to the stream and drink from it to get healed.
On Virgin of Los Angeles Day, almost two million locals and visitors visit the Basilica.
The locals refer to the annual pilgrimage as 'romeria'.
The pilgrimage route around the rock where La Negrita was discovered allows pilgrims to drink from the stream during the pilgrimage.
The Basilica is open 24 hours a day. On festival days, it remains accessible for people to come and pray all day.
Some people demonstrate their piety by crawling or walking several kilometres to reach the Basilica.
The backstory of the day is amazing, with a miraculous narrative about the discovery of the image of the Virgin Mary. It serves as an excellent foundation for both a festival and a church.
The Costa Rican daytime celebrations are unique and colourful, with religious significance.
The culture and traditions of Costa Rica are rich and complex. For instance, some locals may trek 13 miles barefoot as a form of appreciation for the sculpture.