Religion in Cuba was forbidden for many years since the victory of the revolution in 1959.
This hasn’t prevented the pilgrimage in honor of Saint Lazarus (Babalú-Ayé in the African pantheon) from taking place, a miraculous saint that helps people heal, mainly traumatic and skin disease. It is held every year on December 16th and 17th.
To show their gratitude, the pilgrims –commonly dressed in violet– walk for several miles on their knees or drag rocks up to the Rincón hermitage, 12 mi. from Havana.
It is a day of pain, panhandlers, sick people, singing, candles, dogs and faith, a “violet-colored faith.”