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    Posted April 27, 2012 by
    Costa Rica

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    Holy Crocodile

    One of the stranger Good Friday traditions in Costa Rica is practiced in the Guanacaste town of Ortega de Santa Cruz. In this remote village in the northwestern part of the country, there is a group of men who are called the Lagarteros de Ortega or Lizard men of Ortega. On Good or Holy Friday, they jump into a crocodile infested river armed with only sticks and ropes to capture the largest “lizard” they can find. This has been their tradition for hundreds of years.

    The hapless croc is then the unenthusiastic guest of honor at the town festival for the day. It is released the following day. Some stories relate that originally the guest was killed on Easter Sunday and its fat used for making medicinal curing potions. This minor witchcraft is no longer practiced, but the people of Ortega are fiercely proud of their tradition.

    The photograph shows a weary lagartero and his prize on their way into town from the river.

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