Círio de Nazaré (The Taper of Our Lady of Nazareth) in the city of Belém, Pará
Inscribed in 2013 (8.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
The Círio de Nazaré festival in Belém honours Our Lady of Nazareth. The main procession concludes the festivities on the second Sunday of October, when a wooden image of Our Lady of Nazareth is carried from Sé Cathedral to Sanctuary Square¬¬¬, but the celebrations start in August and run until fifteen days after the procession. Almost the entire city participates and vast numbers of pilgrims travel from across Brazil to attend what is one of the world’s largest religious gatherings. The celebration incorporates numerous cultural elements that reflect Brazil’s multicultural society, including Amazonian culture and cuisine, and crafts such as toys made of local palm wood. The blending of the sacred and the profane gives this event religious, aesthetic, touristic, social and cultural dimensions. Boats play a symbolic role in the procession as Our Lady of Nazareth is the patron saint of sailors. Devotees create small altars in their homes, shops, bars, markets and public institutions. Transmission occurs within families, with small children and teenagers accompanying their parents to the festivities. For many, the Círio is an annual homecoming; for others, it is a space for political demonstrations.