In Nicaragua, dogs celebrate San Lazaro in gala clothes

Masaya (Nicaragua) – Patron saint of the poor and sick, San Lazaro has been healed by dogs that lick their wounds: every year for a century, hundreds of dogs in picturesque disguise came to seek his blessings. Sunday at a church in Masaya, 30 km south of Nicaragua’s capital.

The Masters hope that San Lazaro, grateful, will bring with him his blessings the health of his four-legged friends, whom he disguises for the occasion.

During Mass with hymns, dogs parade in front of a statue of the saint on a flowering altar of the Maria Magdalena Church in Monimbo, an indigenous district of Masaya. On the courtyard, worshipers share food and chicha, a popular drink made from corn.

Masaya and its region are “the cradle of Nicaraguan folklore and tradition,” says Wilmar López, a scholar of the country’s culture. It is the melting pot where “African history converges with that of the marimba”—a xylophone whose name is of Bantu origin and who came with slaves—influences of gastronomy and indigenous mythology and the Catholic Church of the Spaniards, he explains.

“Even in Cuba, Lázaro is celebrated with gusto”, but in the Caribbean island “he is black and the eras bring him rum and food”, the scholar recalls. (AFP)

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