Our Lady of Aparecida is the name of the ceramic Virgin Mary figure which is considered the patroness of Brazil. The name Children’s Day comes from the belief that the statue patronizes the expectant mothers and newborns, in particular.
The big religious and national event, Our Lady of Aparecida holiday has been officially celebrated in Brazil for centuries. It is especially meaningful for the African-Brazilians since they were the most impressed with the statue’s dark-colored looks when it was found in 1747. In 1904 the statue had been canonically crowned by the Catholic church and named the patroness, or padroeira, of Brazil.
History has saved detailed information dated 1747 in an anecdote about the statue’s miraculous appearance. Actually, the holiday name itself, Aparecida, means “The one that appeared”.
According to the legend, three poor fishermen struggled to catch some fish for the feast thrown to celebrate an important guest. In their last effort, they’ve asked Saint Mary for her help and cast their nets one last time. The nets immediately returned with the statue of Holy Mary, then with the statue’s head fitting it perfectly, and then with the fish so aplenty that the boat nearly sunk.
The miracle happened to three young Brazilians of African descent – Domingos Garcia, Joao Alves, and Filipe Pedroso. The statue remained in Filipe Pedroso’s house for the first 15 years after the find. Yet, the number of believers who came to see the wonderful Black Mary was increasing so fast that the statue had to be moved to its own chapel.
Around the chapel, a village had grown, and in no time the new patronesses' whereabouts turned into a town named Aparecida. The Old Basilica, a chapel housing the sacred figurine, had met the pilgrims' demand for 120 years until in 1955 the massive build known as the New Basilica had been started. Now it’s the second biggest basilica in the world, able to accommodate 30,000 visitors at once.
Over the year, the shrine attracts a massive number of 12 million visitors, scooping three-quarters of all religious tourism in Brazil.
In the hometown of Our Lady of Aparecida, the streets get flooded with the international crowd of almost 200,000 celebrating worshippers making their way to the New Basilica to ask the little divine statue for her blessing.
Over the centuries Our Lady, or Nossa Senhora, has been getting more and more prominent embellishments from each new generation of benevolent patrons and head priests. Now it is placed inside an impressive cubist futuristic altar, glowing with the pure gold around the perfect triangular cutout surrounding Holy Mary’s figurine.
One of the most interesting traditions is the pilgrimage to Sala das Promessas, or the Hall of the Promises. Here people would leave personal things like bike helmets, prosthetics or wax limbs as a symbol of something that they promise to overcome with God’s help. Many people promise to marry, too, so there’s a whole section of the wedding paraphernalia.
On Our Lady of Aparecida social media will bomb you with the images of babies and kids attached to marketing deals. The reason is the sacred statue is considered to be a protector of the newborns and children, and all of them get shamelessly spoiled on this day.
For the babies, traditional gifts would be the jewelry knick-knacks. The bracelets and medallions in the shape of the triangular blue Lady’s cloak are very common.
For older kids, the bare minimum set includes toys, ice cream, and a happy party. All stores and activity centers offer deals, specials and promotion discounts, so as far as the children in Brazil are concerned, the Children's week here is even bigger than the Christmas week.
As the colleges and schools have a week-long holiday, young adults often mark this time on the calendar to travel with their friends. It makes the week a unique opportunity for the special influencers engagement wave on Instagram.
NGOs use Children’s day as an invitation to promote their kid- and women-targeted programs in the period recognized by the Catholic church as the major Marian observance. It is a good opportunity for the charities to wrap your ideas in relevant slogans and bible quotes and get your messages through on this day.
Hashtags for Our Lady of Aparecida: #ourladyofaparecida #childrensday #nossasenhoraaparecida #nossasenhora #virgemmaria #brasil #diadascriancas #childrensdaybrazil
The dark gold color of the ancient terracotta statue gives the unique polished look to this holiday. Imagine the hue between earth, gold, and chocolate, and you’re there.
Passionate red hue speaks to the hearts of Brazils. It makes red the favorite color for the holiday decorations in both Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo on this day.
Blue is one of the key colors in the Brazilian flag. Blue is also the dominating color representing the logo cloak of Our Lady of Aparecida.
Black color is extremely important in the history of all South American countries. Our Lady of Aparecida statue is one of the few Black Madonnas existing in the world, which explains the massive flow of believers to her church.
Our Lady of Aparecida – as seen in the photos, the figurine is about 2 feet tall and made of ceramic. The dark color of the material caused the widespread appreciation of the statue across Brazil, primarily by the Brazilians of African descent. The beautiful figurine had been adorned with the crown and iconic blue jeweled cloak, a present from Queen Isabella, in 1904.
The Cathedral Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady Aparecida – The church where the statue resides had to be rebuilt two times to be able to shelter the constantly rising flow of pilgrims. Today it boasts a steady flow of the worshippers, with a peak of up to 200,000 visitors on October 12th.
Newborns – As the definition of Our Lady of Aparecida names her a patroness of new mothers and babies, it is customary to have the newborns as the focal picture of the greeting designs.
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