Celebratis Virgin of Los Angeles Day
August 2nd is an important day in Costa Rica. It honours the Lady of the Angels, a festival celebrated like Christmas and Easter.
Virgin of Los Angles Day History
The Virgin of Los Angeles Day is a significant event in Costa Rica that honours 'La Negrita,' a representation of the Virgin Mary that is indigenous or mixed-race. This modest statue is less than three feet tall.
Legend has it that in Cartago, a peasant girl discovered a figurine of the Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus on a rock. She brought it home, but the sculpture vanished the next day only to reappear on the rock. The girl gave it to a priest, who placed it in a box, but once again, the statue disappeared and reappeared on the rock. As a result of frequent earthquakes, a shrine was erected around the chapel where the figurine was intended to reside. Eventually, the shrine was transformed 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 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.
During Virgin of Los Angeles Day, nearly two million locals and tourists flock to the Basilica. The locals commonly call this annual pilgrimage 'romeria'. Pilgrims can drink from the stream along the pilgrimage route surrounding the rock where La Negrita was found. The Basilica is open around the clock and is accessible for people to come and pray throughout festival days. Specific individuals even show devotion by crawling or walking several kilometres to reach the Basilica.
Today's backstory is genuinely remarkable, featuring a miraculous tale of the uncovering of the image of the Virgin Mary. This event is a strong foundation for both a church and a festival. The daytime celebrations in Costa Rica are vibrant and one-of-a-kind, with deep religious meaning. The rich and intricate culture and traditions of Costa Rica are fascinating, with some locals even choosing to trek 13 miles barefoot as a way to show appreciation for the sculpture.