Cirio de Nazare: The festival of faith and procession

Each year Belem is filled with faith, joy, and cheerfulness when the festival of Cirio de Nazare pulls not only the locals, but also the tourists from all across the world. Belem is the key port in Brazil, situated just out of the Amazon and is famous for hosting this largest festival that is dedicated to the Our Lady of Nazareth, Virgin of Nazareth. The faith in worshipping Our Lady of Nazare was first born in Portugal wherein the Mother is believed to have rescued a nobleman as he was just about to fall with his horse into a cliff. Once this story was first told in Belem by the Portuguese, a new miracle took place in which a hunter was unbelievably saved in the Amazonian forest.

This devotion to the Nazare Lady is now 200 years old and is certainly the most vital event in the state. Cirio de Nazare is held on the second Sunday of October every year featuring a big procession as well as an extravagant lunch all over the city. This greatest catholic manifestation in the state is surprisingly attended by over a million people. The procession pulls countless pilgrims who tend to carry symbols that represent the different parts of the body along with the other icons. By doing so, the symbols reflect the need of divine cure. All the pilgrims go behind the statue of Our Lady of Nazareth that is on a chariot adorned with wonderful Amazon flowers. This small image of the Virgin, the heart of the Cirio de Nazare events, was discovered before 300 years ago at the site of the Basilica. This procession covers the distance of 3.6 kilometers starting from the Belem Cathedral and ending at the Nazare Basilica. The chariot goes at its own pace giving everyone a chance to revere the Lady and so reaches its destination after 5 hours. At the Basilica, the statue is kept for two weeks after which it is brought back to the Cathedral.

On the first Saturday in October, a group of boats sail to take out a colorful procession as a tribute to the Virgin de Nazare who is also revered as the sailors’ patroness. Hundreds of boats take part in this river procession that is known as Romaria Fluvial. On the second Saturday of this two week event, folks go for a procession right from the Cathedral and hold the idol of Virgin until the Basilica de Nazare. Then, the next day, that is Sunday, a big fair converts the silent square in front of the Basilica into a hustling environment, where you will come across a number of shops vending handicraft items. In addition, musical shows take place in the fair and food stalls sprinkled around tempt you with its mouth-watering Brazilian dishes. The festival of Cirio de Nazare is known for some of its unique souvenirs of which the Miriti Toy is popular, which is carved from wood of the Mariti palm tree. Exactly when the two weeks have passed, the idol of Virgin goes back via a procession to the Cathedral. This procession is known as the Re-Cirio.

During the procession of Cirio de Nazare, countless folks aim at holding the rope that is connected to the berlinda, the chariot or stand holding the image of Our Lady of Nazareth. But, this heightened emotions when rises simultaneously with the heat results in many cases of fainting. So, paramedics are also available during the procession.

The nub of this festival is the Candle of Nazareth – the opening ceremony that always takes place on the 10th of October and lasts for 7 hours. An atmosphere of religious passion is felt all over the state and there abundant music and dancing. Along the way, each house offers a great fragrance of sugar and spice.

Even if you are not religious, it is worth attending this event as the procession puts colors on the streets of the city offering you a spectacular sight to behold. And if at all you are planning to touch the rope, do so with utmost care with some dexterity.

I recommend booking accommodation in advance, which are plenty and varied here. Otherwise, it is very tough to get one during the festival time.


There is lot to eat and drink at the stalls in the fair. You will have something as per your mood.

2011 Days

It is same – second Sunday in October, but celebrations go on until the first 3 weeks featuring traditional music, dance, and carnival atmosphere.


Belem is in the north of Brazil and the venue there is Praca Justo Chermont. So, when are you booking your tickets?

Related Posts with Thumbnails

RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge