The Virgin of Los Angeles Day is celebrated annually on August 2 in Costa Rica. Also known as Virgen de Los Angeles Day, the holiday celebrates the ‘Virgen de Los Angeles’ or the ‘Lady of the Angels.’
Apart from Christmas and Easter, the Virgin of Los Angeles Day is one of the biggest celebrations in Costa Rica and is highly regarded by the local people.
History of Virgin of Los Angeles Day
The Virgin of Los Angeles Day, also known as the Virgen de Los Angeles Day, is one of the biggest celebrations in Costa Rica after Christmas and Easter and is a celebration that is uniquely Costa Rican.
As ‘La Negrita,’ known as the ‘Virgen de Los Angeles,’ is the patron saint of Costa Rica, the celebrations are specific to Costa Rican culture and the religious beliefs of the people. ‘La Negrita’ or the ‘Black Virgin’ is a representation of the Virgin Mary as indigenous or mixed race. The statuette is small, standing less than three feet tall, and as with most representations, has a story around it.
According to the story, a peasant girl in Cartago came across the statuette of the Virgin Mary carrying the infant Jesus on a rock. She picked it up and took it home, but the next day the statuette had disappeared. It supposedly appeared on the rock again. She carried it to a priest, who locked it in a box, but the statue disappeared from the box and reappeared on the rock once again.
A shrine was built around the statuette, as the church being constructed for the statuette at a different location was attacked by earthquakes consistently. The shrine later became a Basilica, and it is known as the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles.
Virgin of Los Angeles Day timeline
A native peasant girl finds La Negrita, the patron saint of Costa Rica, in Cartago.
People build the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles around the rock where La Negrita appeared.
Costa Rica declares the statuette of the Virgin Mary as its patron saint.
Having suffered damage because of earthquakes, the basilica requires repair and is rebuilt.
Virgin of Los Angeles Day FAQs
How Is Virgen de Los Angeles celebrated?
Every year, on Virgen de Los Angeles, thousands of Costa Ricans make the pilgrimage to La Negrita to pay their respects.
Why Is Virgen de Los Angeles celebrated?
The Costa Ricans celebrate Virgen de los Ángeles to honor and pay respects to La Negrita.
Where is La Basílica de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles?
The basilica is in the heart of the city of Cartago in Costa Rica.
Virgin of Los Angeles Day Activities
Go on a pilgrimage
Locals and tourists alike go on walking pilgrimages on this day. Celebrate like the Costa Ricans and go on a pilgrimage to the basilica.
Watch the festivities
Head to Cartago and watch how the locals celebrate, even if you don't want to participate. Enjoy the local culture and the expression of the Costa Ricans’ beliefs.
Drink from the stream
A stream close to the Basilica is believed to have healing powers. You can go to the stream and drink from it to be healed.
5 Facts About The Virgin Of Los Angeles Day That You Probably Didn’t Know
Millions of people make the pilgrimage
About two million locals and tourists made the pilgrimage to the basilica on the Virgin of Los Angeles Day.
The pilgrimage has a local name
The yearly pilgrimage is locally known as ‘romeria.’
The pilgrimage visits the rock
The pilgrimage route goes around the rock where La Negrita was found, so pilgrims can drink the water at the stream.
The basilica is open all day long
On the day of the festival, the basilica is open all day long for people to come in and pray.
Some people crawl to the basilica
People show their piety by walking the last few miles on their knees or crawling.
Why We Love Virgin of Los Angeles Day
The story behind the day is impressive
The story of how the representation of the Virgin Mary was found is magical. It's a fantastic backstory for a festival and a church.
The celebrations are unique
The celebrations made during the day are unique to the Costa Rican people. It is a celebration filled with devotion and a riot of color that cannot be found anywhere else.
The culture is complex
The culture and traditions around this day are complex. For example, some Costa Ricans will walk barefoot for 13 miles to show their regard and respect for the statuette.
Virgin of Los Angeles Day dates