Festival of the Virgen de los Angeles
The Festival of the Virgen de los Angeles is one of the most significant religious events in Costa Rica, attracting thousands of pilgrims from all over the country and beyond. This festival is celebrated every year on August 2nd in the town of Cartago, which is about 25 km east of San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica.
Translated : Our Lady of the Angels
The Virgen de los Angeles, or Our Lady of the Angels, is the patron saint of Costa Rica, and her statue is kept in the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles, a church in Cartago. The story of the Virgen de los Angeles dates back to 1635, when a young girl named Juana Pereira experienced a vision of the Virgin Mary. The vision occurred near a stream, and it was said that the water in the stream had healing powers. Soon after, a small church was built in the area, which eventually became the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles.
The festival starts with a pilgrimage, which is the main attraction of the festival. Many people walk from their homes to the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles, some even coming from other parts of the country. The journey can take several days, and pilgrims often carry candles, flowers, and other offerings as they walk. It is not uncommon to see pilgrims walking barefoot as a sign of devotion.
Once the pilgrims reach the church, they wait in line to enter and offer their prayers and offerings to the Virgen de los Angeles. The church is beautifully decorated with flowers and candles, and the atmosphere is one of great reverence and devotion. The priests offer masses throughout the day, and there is also a traditional dance performed by the locals in honor of the Virgin.
Not just a religious event
The festival is not just a religious event, but it is also a cultural event. There are parades, concerts, and traditional dances held throughout the town of Cartago. The streets are lined with vendors selling food, drinks, and souvenirs. The festival is a time for families and friends to come together and celebrate their faith and culture.
One of the most popular events during the festival is the “Tope Nacional,” which is a horse parade that takes place on August 1st. This parade features thousands of horses and riders from all over the country, and it is a colorful and exciting spectacle. The riders dress in traditional Costa Rican clothing, and the horses are adorned with colorful ribbons and decorations. The parade is a celebration of Costa Rican culture and tradition, and it is a must-see for anyone visiting the country during the festival.
Another important event during the festival is the “Cantonato,” which is a traditional dance that is performed in the town square. The dance is a lively and colorful performance, featuring dancers in traditional costumes and masks. The music is provided by a live band, and the dancers move in a choreographed pattern that is both impressive and entertaining.
Faith and culture od Costa Rica
The Festival of the Virgen de los Angeles is a time for Costa Ricans to come together and celebrate their faith and culture. It is a unique and vibrant event that showcases the beauty and diversity of this Central American country. The festival is a testament to the strong religious and cultural traditions that have been passed down through generations, and it is a reminder of the importance of community and unity.
For visitors to Costa Rica, the Festival of the Virgen de los Angeles is an opportunity to witness a truly authentic and meaningful cultural event. The festival offers a glimpse into the heart and soul of Costa Rican culture, and it is an experience that should not be missed. Whether you are a devout Catholic or simply interested in experiencing a unique cultural event, the Festival of the Virgen de los Angeles is a must see for any visitor wanting to experience costarican cultire and its heritage.