December 17 the Cubans celebrate San Lazaro. Mostly it´s a good excuse to party heavily.
This is the small village Condado in southern Cuba about an hour drive from Trinidad. People come riding in from all over the region. The local salsa-band takes care of the music.. Plenty of cheap rum and a willingness to dance and have fun makes it a party to remember.
At December 16–17 every year, thousands of Cubans of various religious beliefs make a pilgrimage to San Lazaro at Rincon in Santiago de las Vegas, some 30 km from Havana. They come to show penitence and pray for health and make other wishes.
Many crawl kilometers on their knees dragging stones as an extra proof of their devotion.
Some of the pilgrims worship the orisha Babalú Ayé, “Father of the World” the Santeria version of, San Lazaro.
This religios phenomenon is not seen with benevolent eyes from the Cuban government.
Plain clothes security police are heavily present.
My Cuban friend was taken apart and searched in a humiliating manner for walking with to foreigners active with cameras!
The Cuban religious passion, both santeria and catholic is growing as the revolutionary
enthusiasm has been going down for some time now!