Image 1 of 1

KZ_1401211537-Edit.jpg

Add to Lightbox Download
The pilgrimage of San Lazaro takes place annually on December 17 in Rincon, Cuba. Pilgrims journey from near and far to the church of San Lazaro in Rincon. Many travel this distance on their knees, some push a large block of concrete ahead of them, or a wooden box filled with flowers and pesos. These acts symbolize "prometos," promises to San Lazaro, a show of faith that he will, in exchange, heal the pilgrim and/or a loved one in need. It's believed that San Lazaro was a very poor man, often depicted with leprosy. Lazaro waits at the entrance of a rich man's mansion, hoping to eat the scraps from the man's table. It is the stray dogs, rather than the rich man, who come to Lazaro's aid, lovingly licking the poor beggar's wounds. The parable states that in the after life, Lazaro was sent to Heaven, while the rich man was sent to Hell. Whether one believes or not, it's easy to be stirred by the devotion. The faces of men and women raised in a mix of anguish and exaltation; their feet, knees and hands chaffed and bloodied; and the silent accompaniment of a spouse or a child hovering above them ready to pour a few drops of water on to their necks or in their mouths to help mitigate the effects of the scorching Caribbean sun and to sweep the path free of debris with a flower or small, leafy branch. Some pilgrims were given emergency saline injections, or taken away on stretchers. As I stayed low to the ground myself in order to better capture their crawling, I often felt my own eyes fill with tears. Their tears or my own? It's hard to say.
Copyright
©karenzusman, all rights reserved.
Image Size
4104x2736 / 5.0MB
Contained in galleries
The pilgrimage of San Lazaro takes place annually on December 17 in Rincon, Cuba. Pilgrims journey from near and far to the church of San Lazaro in Rincon. Many travel this distance on their knees, some push a large block of concrete ahead of them, or a wooden box filled with flowers and pesos. These acts symbolize "prometos," promises to San Lazaro, a show of faith that he will, in exchange, heal the pilgrim and/or a loved one in need. It's believed that San Lazaro was a very poor man, often depicted with leprosy. Lazaro waits at the entrance of a rich man's mansion, hoping to eat the scraps from the man's table. It is the stray dogs, rather than the rich man, who come to Lazaro's aid, lovingly licking the poor beggar's wounds. The parable states that in the after life, Lazaro was sent to Heaven, while the rich man was sent to Hell. Whether one believes or not, it's easy to be stirred by the devotion. The faces of men and women raised in a mix of anguish and exaltation; their feet, knees and hands chaffed and bloodied; and the silent accompaniment of a spouse or a child hovering above them ready to pour a few drops of water on to their necks or in their mouths to help mitigate the effects of the  scorching Caribbean sun and to sweep the path free of debris with a flower or small, leafy branch.  Some pilgrims were given emergency saline injections, or taken away on stretchers.  As I stayed low to the ground myself in order to better capture their crawling, I often felt my own eyes fill with tears. Their tears or my own? It's hard to say.