Círio de Nazaré Introduction:
Círio de Nazaré is one of the largest Catholic processions in Brazil and in the world. About two million faithful join the Círio de Nazaré, which takes place in Belém, the capital of the northern state of Pará, on the second Sunday of October and honors the Virgin of Nazareth.
On certain years, such as 2008, the Círio, as it is known for short, takes place on the same day as the festivities in honor of Our Lady of Aparecida, in São Paulo.
The procession in Belém attracts pilgrims who carry ex-votos - symbols of parts of the body and other icons which represent divine healings and intercessions.
Devotees follow the image of Our Lady of Nazareth along the 3.6 kilometers from Belém Cathedral to the Nazaré Basilica, where it is on display for two weeks.
A great number of people want to hold on to the rope which is attached to the berlinda, or stand which carries the image of Our Lady of Nazareth. The heightened emotions during the event and the heat contribute to the thousands of cases of fainting, most of them affecting rope holders, which keep paramedics busy during the procession.
The small image of the Virgin of Nazareth at the heart of Círio events was found in 1700 where the Basilica is today.
Other Círio de Nazaré Events:
Hundreds of boats participate in a well-know river procession - Romaria Fluvial on the Saturday before the street procession. Several other events are involved in the Círio, which, in 2004, was listed as an Immaterial Heritage by IPHAN - Brazil's Institute for National Historical and Artistic Heritage.