By Irina Pino
HAVANA TIMES – Are you a believer? What is your religion? Don’t answer if you don’t want. To be a devotee of San Lazaro you just have to have faith, and that is demonstrated when you visit the El Rincon sanctuary to go and ask for health. One makes a promise and then must pay for it. Many choose to travel the long journey with bare feet, others on their knees or dragging the body.
According to the New Testament, Lazarus is the brother of Martha and Mary. He lived on the outskirts of Jerusalem, in the town of Bethany. Jesus stayed at his house several times and revived him when he died. Hence the phrase: “Lazarus, get up and walk.” In the parable of the Gospel of Luke, it’s Lazarus, the poor man accompanied by dogs that lick his wounds. While, in the Yoruba religion it is Babalú Ayé.
The truth is that he is venerated by making sacrifices, praying to him and offering flowers and candles. On December 17th, it is customary to make a procession, in which people of all ages participate, from a baby to an old man. Even families go with their dogs. But you can visit the church any day, you just need your faith.
There is a fountain with holy water, the faithful wet their faces and hands, also fill bottles to take some of the liquid with them. It is a tradition to go with some purple garment, the color that identifies him.
I had never gone, I’d only seen documentary images. Seeing it live impacted me in some way. I did the eight-kilometer walk back and forth, filmed videos without a problem.
However, someone told me later that I needed permission from the Guardian Angel. I didn’t know that, but when I returned home I had an accident. As a result they sewed some stiches on my head and I have an injured knee. Luckily, I didn’t die. Now my body needs rest.
Has San Lazaro intervened, despite everything? I think so, and I owe him a promise.