Belém Brazil’s Círio de Nazaré

Spotlight Want to see more from yesterday’s festivities? check out the #ciriobemnafoto hashtag, and the Círio 2012 location page.

During the second Sunday of October, hundreds of thousands of Catholic faithful gather in Belém, Brazil for Círio de Nazaré, often referred to as the “Christmas of the Amazon.”

Círio de Nazaré—known informally as “Cirio”—celebrates the story of Plácido José de Souza, a farmer who found an image of the Virgin Mary and took it home. The image mysteriously returned to the site where it was found, prompting the farmer to build a chapel there.

The site is now home to the Basilica of Nazaré, and the celebratory procession from the Basilica to the Cathedral of Sé attracts over 1 million pilgrims a year.