[:en]During the first week of the month of August Cartago’s streets trive with people, activities and stories. The reason the festivities for the Virgen de los Ángeles or “la Negrita” as it is known by the ticos. During almost a week millions of pilgrims travel from all the corners of the country to pay a visit to the Saint Patreon of Costa Rica. Asking for favours or thanking for miracles conceded. To learn more about the History of the Virgen de los Ángeles click HERE.
This year we in Paradise Products Costa Rica decided to cover the 3 main events during this festivities. That is to events that took place 1st of August the change of dress of the image of the Virgin Mary, the 2nd of August that is the Romería and the Rosary at 6pm in the plaza in front of the Basilica of los Angeles and the 3rd of August that is the passage of the image from the Basilica its regular place of residence to the Cathedral of Cartago aproximedtly 1km West from the Basilica.
The 1st of Agust the Chang of Dress.
The image found in 1635 is a rock sculpture of a woman holding a baby on her arms. It approximately 20cm told. And it is exhibited in a custody of gold and precious stones. The image wears a dress that is change every year the 1st of August. During a ceremony in the plaza of the Basilica of the Angels. The ceremony starts with a mass at 12:00 in the mooring and after finishing it. The image is taken out of its custody for the public to see. Then a small wooden box is presented with five or six dresses made by people that offer the dress as an act of gratitude to the Virgin Mary for a favour concede.
Two priest try each of the dresses and then decided what is going to be the new dress for the Virgin Mary to wear for the next year. This year the choose dress had a Coat of arms of Costa Rica embroidery in the front and two Guarias Moradas [Guarianthe Skinneri] also embroidery at each side. After the dress is choose the image is put bag on its custody and transported inside of the Basilica for the pilgrims that are arriving to see at the end of their journey.
The 2nd of August The Romería and the Rosary.
The 2nd of August is the official day and festivity of the Negrita. While pilgrims had been arriving at the basilica for several days now. The 2nd of August is the day with the highest concurrency. During all the day thousands and thousands of people arrive exhibiting clear exhaustion and sometimes pain. But extremely happy to fulfill the promise and the amazing act of courage that mean walking to Cartago. Often a big group can be seen arriving from places as far a borderline towns as Los Chiles, Monte Verde, Perez Zeledón and Puntarenas.
Many of these weary travelers burst in tears when they realize they have finally made to their goal. And offering their selves on their knees in front of what they believed is the mother of their lord and savior.
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By 6pm the church is empty of the pilgrims and the image of the Virgin Mary is taken outside the basilica to the Plazoleta. The next activity is a rosary. The image of la Negrita is moved around the plaza in previously made alleys. For the crow to see the virgin mary while reciting the answers the the Holy Fathers and the Hail Marys. The plaza in ambient with live music to listen and sing along in between the Mysteries of the Rosary. People are welcome to carry candles and light them up at the start of the Rosary. Once finished the Rosary there is a fireworks display that extends for several minutes for the delight of the pilgrims.
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3rd of August. La pasada
Many think that the activities in Cartago stop after the 2nd of August. After all the Romería is the main event. And usually the fireworks are use as a farewell for the assistants of an activity. But the people of Cartago have one more event La Pasada. During which the image of la Negrita is moved from the Basilica de los Ángles to the Cathedral Cartago.
The activity begins with a Mass in the plaza of the Basilica, then image is moved to an amazingly decorated truck were it is secure and from which it will travel about 1km West to the Cathedral. Been escorted by police, firemen and the local farmers and boyeros. Whom parade with their traditional oxen carts full of their products. Than they will later auction donating the profits to the church to be use in social works.
The activity is one of the pride of the Cartaginians. The families that parade show their best oxen and they feel very proud of been able to show their carts. This is the first of two Pasadas the second one happens exactly one month after the first one. The 3rd of September. The second pasada in known for the beautiful flowers carpets the different towns of Cartago confecionate for the ocassion. You can read and learn more about it HERE.