Photo Feature by Juan Suarez
HAVANA TIMES – The return each year to the town of El Rincon in search of the National Sanctuary dedicated to San Lazaro, makes December 17th a special day in the lives of many Cubans.
The scenes are repeated every year on the path that leads to the gates of the sacred site. The payers of promises crawling down the street breaking human limits, the devotees come to celebrate the day of the saint that grants miracles.
Many of the people attend every year, some drag large stones, others carry colorful flowers they purchase along the way others put out a box for donations alongside a replica of the saint.
These are difficult times and religion becomes a means of escape, and people try to resolve hardships with the help of spirituality. Faith in the saint, his miracles in the healing of the body, make the Cuban people venerate Babalu Aye, the African oricha, Lazaro, the biblical friend of Jesus and brother of Marta and Maria Magdalena, or Lazaro, the beggar who appears in a parable of the Gospel of Saint Luke.
The villagers turn the festivities into a fair of not only religious products but of food and drink as well.
The tradition continues to be an example of the religious roots of the Cuban people and their marked predominance in everyday life.