On Sunday morning, the week before Easter, people make their way to the Santa María Magdalena church in the Monimbó neighborhood of Masaya to present their sick children or animals to Saint Lazarus and ask for healing during an annual mass in his honor. Dogs of all breeds, sizes and colors are carried/paraded down the streets leading to the church. Inside, benches are removed, the floor is covered in sawdust, and people push their way to the alter for a blessing. Outside there is a constant stream of pet owners – and onlookers toting cameras – flowing up and down the steps to the entrance. It's a riot of color, costume and paparazzi.
Jessica Schugel is Owner and Tour Director at Buen Viaje Tours.