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Cubans Claim Wishes Granted at St. Lazarus Rite

Thousands of Cubans are taking part in one of the island's most important religious rites, a pilgrimage to pay homage to Saint Lazarus at the El Rincon church.

Some pilgrims weigh themselves down with blocks and stones to make their 25-kilometer journey to the church more difficult.

Many Cubans regard Lazarus as a mix between the Catholic saint and the Afro-Cuban deity Babalu-Aye. Saint Lazarus, is often represented as a beggar in rags and is believed to cure people of their skin ailments, paralysis, amputations and HIV/AIDS.

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