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Get down to San Lázaro

San Lázaro, or Saint Lazarus in English, not popular in most parts of the world, but in Cuba you will see many households keeping a statue of an shabby wounded old man accompanied by a few street dogs. He is the beggar in the gospel of Luke, who has leprosy, waited outside the gate of a rich man's home for what might fell from his extravagant dinner, he died and seat next to Abraham, while the rich man was in agony after he died.


While in Africa's Yoruba, there's a god who is believed to be the dominion of infectious diseases and healing called Babalú Ayé. African slaves brought him to Cuba, under the domination of Catholicism, Babalú Ayé has been associated with San Lázaro in Santetria, a merge of Roman Catholicism and Yoruba.


Every 17 December, tens of thousands of devotees will dress in purple and sack cloth come to the church of San Lázaro in the outskirt of Cuba's capital Havana, to pray for health of their own and their families. A lot of people walk in bare feet, many crawl on knees from the church's gate, some even roll themselves or dragging heavy objects from a few kilometres away, whatever method to make their pilgrimage tough They may not be firm believers of “no pain no gain”, but they surely know sincerity and get creative with it.

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