Bikers honor Guatemala’s ‘Black Christ’
GUATEMALA CITY – Some 35,000 motorcyclists roared through the streets of Guatemala City last Saturday for an annual pilgrimage to the “Cristo Negro” – the shrine of the Black Christ – one of this country’s most venerated icons.
The riders, many toting wives or children on their backs, covered 195 kilometers from the center of the capital to the town of Esquipulas, home to the basilica of the same name where the icon is housed.
Once referred to as the “spiritual center of Central America” by Pope John Paul II, the Basilica of Esquipulas attracts thousands of pilgrims each year to pay homage to the Black Christ statue, which was carved in 1595.
It is seen as so much a part of Guatemala’s heritage that a postage stamp has been minted to commemorate the pilgrimage.
Photos showed Guatemala City’s wide boulevards thronged with bikers, some in colorful masks or wigs, heading east to the massive church.
President Otto Pérez Molina greeted organizers of the event wearing a Harley Davidson biker jacket and wished the riders a safe journey. Each year there are some fatal accidents during the ride.
To reduce the risk of accidents, authorities mounted relief stations at various stages along the route.
John Paul visited Esquipulas in 1996, during his second of three visits to Guatemala.
You may be interested
Rule of law deteriorating in Nicaragua: UN rights chiefAFP - February 25, 2021
The rule of law is deteriorating in Nicaragua ahead of November's general elections, UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet warned Thursday,…
EuroMillions Jackpot Alert! Someone from Costa Rica could win a record €210 Million jackpot this Friday!The Lotter - February 25, 2021
EuroMillions Superdraw’s €210 million jackpot is the lottery’s biggest ever, and it could be won in Friday’s draw! There is…
UN commends Costa Rica for decarbonization effortsAlejandro Zúñiga - February 25, 2021
António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, on Thursday commended Costa Rica for its ongoing decarbonization efforts. Thursday marked the…