Our Lady Of Los Angeles
Our Lady of Los Angeles is not a holiday that celebrates the city located in California in the U.S., but is instead a holiday observed in Costa Rica. This holiday is observed annually on August 2nd and celebrates the Virgen de Los Angeles (the Virgin of the Angels), also known as La Negrita or the Black Virgin.
The Virgin was originally declared the patron saint of Costa Rica during the 19th century, and, next to Christmas and Easter, is one of the biggest holidays in the country. It is a day when the faithful travel to the city of Cartago to celebrate this religious holiday, and people take the time to attend specialized religious services.
The History of Our Lady of Los Angeles
According to tradition, this holiday started during the 17th century when a woman found a statue on an August day while she was doing laundry and gathering wood for a fire. The small statue was a representation of the Virgin Mary carved into dark wood. The woman tried to take the statue from the place where she found it, but according to the story, the statue kept miraculously returning itself to that location.
When the townspeople found out about it, they decided to build a shrine for the statue. In 1639, the Basilica Virgen de Los Angeles was built in Cartago. Unfortunately, this structure was destroyed by an earthquake, so it was restored in 1722. In 1824, the Virgin was declared to be the patron saint of Costa Rica.
Observing Our Lady of Los Angeles
This holiday is known as Virgen de Los Angeles Day in Spanish, and it is a holiday almost as anticipated by residents of Costa Rica as Christmas. Pilgrims take to the Pan American Highway and other roads leading to Cartago to visit the Virgen de Los Angeles.
Some people walk to the basilica, while others ride horses or carts to the shrine. The crowd then visits the country’s patron saint and the image that now sits on a golden platform.