Feast of Our Lady of the Angels

Our Lady of the Angels, Feast of

August 2
Our Lady of the Angels or Nuestra Señora de los Angeles is the patron saint of Costa Rica. Although her feast day, August 2, is observed throughout the country, the celebration focuses on Cartago, where the black stone said to bear her image is housed in the basilica that was erected on the spot where she is said to have appeared more than 300 years ago to a poor Indian girl who was gathering firewood.
On August 2 each year the small black stone image of the Virgin rides through the streets in a religious procession from the basilica to the church of St. Nicholas, where it remains until the first Saturday of September. The entire route of the procession is decorated with carpets of flowers and colored sand, and there are floats depicting various religious scenes and events. At one time many worshippers used to follow the procession dressed as Indians with strange designs painted on their faces. Although they claimed that they were fulfilling a special vow to the Virgin, church authorities prohibited the practice in 1958 because it was regarded as pagan superstition. Instead, penitents must follow the route of the procession in bare feet while balancing heavy stones on their heads or shoulders.
Embassy of Costa Rica
2114 S St. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
202-234-2945; fax: 202-265-4795
FiestaTime-1965, p. 127
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.