(August 2) The Virgen de los Angeles (the Virgin of the Angels) is Costa Rica’s patron saint, also known as La Negrita. Virgen de los Angeles Day is a Costa Rican holiday celebrating the Virgen.
According to tradition, La Negrita, the Black Virgin, is a small (less than a meter tall), probably mulatto, representation of the Virgin Mary found on this spot on August 2, 1635 by a native woman. As the story goes, when she tried to take the statuette with her, it miraculously reappeared twice back where she’d found it. The townspeople then built a shrine around her.
In 1824, the Virgin was declared Costa Rica’s patron saint. La Negrita now resides on a gold, jewel-studded platform at the main altar in the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles in Cartago. Each August 2, on the anniversary of the statuette’s miraculous discovery, pilgrims from every corner of the country (and beyond) walk the 22 km from San José to the basilica. Many of the penitent complete the last few hundred meters of the pilgrimage on their knees. This basilica is equally visited by tourists and locals.
The day of the Virgin of Los Angeles is celebrated with pilgrimages in each town that is named Los Angeles. All the public services and in their majority private are closed. It is a mandatory holiday or double payment.
Costa Rica Holiday | La Virgen de Los Angeles |