Pilgrimages to Cartago gain steam with a national holiday

Because today is a legal holiday, many persons will use the day for their pilgrimage to the basilica in Cartago.

If they work for the Municipalidad de San José, they have Friday off, too, unless they are trash collectors. The municipality said that workers are being charged a day of vacation and given a four-day weekend. The contract trash collectors are not included, a release said. They will continue to work.

The weather in the Central Valley is expected to be partly cloudy, so there is a real chance of sunburn. There is a chance of rain in the mountains, said the Instituto Meteorological Nacional.

The Fuerza Pública said that it has 15 surveillance points along the principal pilgrimage routes. In most cases these are the portable towers that give police a view from above. One has been erected in the plaza in front of the Basilica de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles in Cartago.

The pilgrimage, called a romería in Spanish, culminates at 10 a.m. Aug. 2 for religious ceremonies at the basilica. Some pilgrims spend several days in the plaza, and church officials provide entertainment and prayer sessions.

Police have been on duty since Saturday, but they see this weekend as a time for major coverage. More than 1,000 police officers are involved, and there are aircraft overflying the routes. Traffic officers also will be diverting vehicles and closing some roads.

Police officials are urging the faithful to confine their walking to daylight hours and leave electronic devices and jewelry at home.

The Cartago pilgrimage is a tradition with more than a million persons participating each year.

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