Virgen de Los Angeles Day

Virgen de Los Angeles Day

August 2
Costa Rica honors its patron saint, La Virgen de los Angeles (also known as La Negrita), on this national holiday. La Negrita is a statue of the Virgin Mary with Baby Jesus in her arms. The statue is carved in dark wood, which is how La Negrita ("little dark one") earned its name. The statue is housed in the Basilica Virgen de Los Angeles in Cartago, next to a small stream. Many Costa Ricans believe both the statue and the stream have curative powers. A legend about the statue dates back to August 2, 1635, when a local woman found the statue in the woods and took it more than once to her home, but the statue kept returning to the spot where she first saw it.
People from all over the country come to Cartago on August 2 to celebrate the mass at the Basilica, pray to Little Negrita, and collect water from the stream. Many pilgrims come on foot, after journeys of several days. Celebrations of the holiday include street fairs, live music, and feasts throughout Costa Rica.
CONTACTS:
Embassy of Costa Rica
2114 S St. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
202-234-2945 or 202-234-2946; fax: 202-265-4795
www.costarica-embassy.org