Oxcart parade in San Ramón honors patron saint

About 240 teams of oxen paraded through San Ramón de Alajuela Sunday as part of the festival for the community’s patron saint. Organizers said the oxen, the carts and their handlers came from all over the country.

This is an annual event around the Aug. 31 feast day of the 13th century Spanish saint, San Ramón Nonato. Residents of the community may not know it but the word Ramón is a contraction of the Spanish phrase meaning protected by God. The saint demonstrated that he had a lot of protection.

First he was plucked from his dead mother by Caesarian and thereby earned the epithet Nonato, meaning never having been born.

Then as a priest sent to Africa to ransom Christians being held by Muslims he, himself, was rescued after he exchanged himself for hostages when his money ran out.

His suffering in captivity included having his lips punctured to accommodate a lock so he would not discuss Catholicism, according to Catholic references on the Internet. Later  Pope Gregorio IX named him a cardinal.

Cart carrying figure of  San Ramón Nonato moves through the community that bears his name.

Cart carrying figure of San Ramón Nonato moves through the community that bears his name.

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