Cirio De Nazare 2013
As some of you may know I have been away a big trip to Brasil throughout October. I felt this was a fantastic time to take along my camera and do a bit of photo journalism. Brasil is a fantastically diverse country, yes it can be dangerous but the people are so warm, the place is beautiful and the food is to die for.
One of the biggest Catholic festivals happens each October in the city of Belem in the north of Brasil. The ‘Cirio De Nazare’. Over 2m people flock to the city to take part in processions and prayers to thank ‘Our Lady Of Nazareth’ blessings they have received or divine interventions they want to happen. This all revolves around a small statue of the lady which has been said to perform miracles. This is a huge symbol for the catholic population of the North and they take it very seriously. You can read more about the history of the statueby clicking here. Whether you are religious or not this is a must see as it is a true spectacle.
The Saturday before the main parade there is a large boat procession called the Romaria Fluvial. Many boats gather on the Amazon river to escort the statue from Icuaraci to Belem. I was fortunate enough to be on one of those in the procession.
It was an early start and our boat started with a mass before breakfast.
Throughout the procession all the boats try to get as close as they can to the large vessel which carries the statue. Its at this point health and safety really goes out the window!
Im amazed nobody fell overboard. We even seen two boats crashing into each other, fortunately they were ok.
The next day (Sunday) the main procession comes through the city. The statue is inside a golden carriage which is pulled by people who have promised to do this task as recompense for something that has happened in their lives or someone close to them. This is quite a tough task. The street is absolutely crammed with people and its 35 degrees Celsius in the midday sun. Holding onto that rope isnt easy and the procession path goes on for miles. Pilgrims also walk the route carrying an effigy of something they want or are thankful for e.g. a mini house, books for study, a wax leg or head in the hope to cure ailments. Lots of them do this walk in their bare feet, some even crawl the route which absolutely punishes their body.
Luckily we were given tickets to a special viewing platform that gave us prime seats to see everything going on.
Unfortunately some never managed to go the whole distance. This is probably heat exhaustion or dehydration.
Here is what the fuss is all about!
As the statue passes people raise their hands to receive a blessing from the statue.
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