San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

For romeros, a long, humble trek

From the print edition

Every year during the week leading up to Aug. 2, more than 2 million people from all over the world, mostly from Central America and particularly Costa Rica, make their way to the old colonial capital of Cartago east of San José in honor of the Virgen de los Ángeles.

The tradition is known as la romería, or pilgrimage, and the faithful followers come to the Basílica Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles, which houses a statue of “La Negrita,” or “Little Black One,” a 6-inch tall representation of the Virgin Mary. 

According to Costa Rican legend, La Negrita has the ability to heal by way of miracles, and whether people come to give thanks to the Virgin Mary or to ask for her help, most of these romeros, or pilgrims, travel by foot – some for days.

Some complete the last few hundred meters on their knees

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