Our Lady of Aparecida / Children's Day in Brazil
Our Lady of Aparecida, also known as Nossa Senhora Aparecida, is a significant religious celebration in Brazil that coincides with Children's Day. The event occurs every year on October 12th, marking the day when the sacred image of the Virgin Mary was retrieved from the Paraíba River by three fishermen in 1717.
The story of Our Lady of Aparecida dates back to October 1717 when three fishermen, who were struggling to catch any fish, pulled a small clay statue of the Virgin Mary from the river. After securing the statue, their luck changed, and they experienced an abundant catch. As word spread of the miracle, devotion to the statue grew, and it eventually became the patroness of Brazil.
Children's Day in Brazil, or Dia das Crianças, was established in 1924 by Brazilian Congressman Galdino do Valle Filho. The date was chosen in honor of the foundation of the League of Nations' Children's Welfare Committee. However, it wasn't until 1960 that the celebration gained popularity when a toy manufacturer launched a successful advertising campaign, which ultimately led to the association of Children's Day with Our Lady of Aparecida.
National customs for Our Lady of Aparecida / Children's Day in Brazil
On October 12th, Brazil honors Our Lady of Aparecida with religious celebrations and processions throughout the country. Devotees of the Virgin Mary attend masses and seek blessings at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida, which is the second-largest Catholic church in the world. The day is also marked by special prayers, hymns, and offerings to the Virgin Mary.
Children's Day, on the other hand, focuses on celebrating the younger generation. Parents, schools, and communities organize events and activities such as games, sports, and performances. Gift-giving is a common practice on this day, as parents often give their children toys or other presents as a way to express their love and appreciation.
Local customs for Our Lady of Aparecida / Children's Day in Brazil
While the national customs are observed throughout Brazil, local customs vary between regions. In some areas, communities organize their own religious processions and events to honor Our Lady of Aparecida. These events can include traditional music, dancing, and cuisine, reflecting the rich cultural diversity of Brazil.
For Children's Day, local customs may involve organizing charity events or fundraisers to support underprivileged children or raising awareness about children's rights and welfare. Schools and community centers often hold special events to engage children in educational and entertaining activities, fostering a sense of community and belonging.
Our Lady of Aparecida and Children's Day are essential celebrations in Brazil, intertwining religious devotion with a focus on the well-being and happiness of the younger generation. The events on October 12th provide an opportunity for Brazilians to express their faith and love for the Virgin Mary while also honoring and cherishing their children. Through national and local customs, Brazilians come together to celebrate the significance of both Our Lady of Aparecida and Children's Day in their rich cultural tapestry.