Academics in Cartago wanted to find out exactly who participated in the annual pilgrimage to the Basilica de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles.
So last year they designed a statistical approach to do so. Surveyors stationed themselves at one of six specific points around the basilica and set out to question every fifth person from July 31 to Aug. 2.
The result was data from 600 pilgrims that the researchers are 95 percent confident represents the estimated 2.5 million people who make the pilgrimage every year. The effort was by the Centro de Investigación en Administración, Economía y Gestión Tecnológica of Tecnológico de Costa Rica, the local university.
There were not a lot of surprises. More than 97 percent said they were Catholic, and 54 percent said they attend Mass every Sunday.
Some 62 percent said that they prayed to the Virgen de los Ángeles every day, and half of these said they knew someone who had received a miracle through her intercession with God.
Less than 10 percent said they participated in the pilgrimage or romería, as it is called, for other than religious reasons. These other reasons were not specified but some participate in the pilgrimage to accompany significant others or boy or girl friends.
Only about 12 percent of those questioned said they walked to Cartago alone. Some 5 percent said they walked for more than 10 hours to reach the basilica. The majority said they walked from two to six hours. The highest percentages came from San José, Cartago Centro and La Unión, said the survey report.
One person who will not be walking this year is President Luis Guilermo Solís. The president said Tuesday that he will go to the basilica in Cartago Saturday for Mass but will not be taking part of the pilgrimage. Though he recalled his father and grandparents actively