Guide to Brazil

October 12: a celebration of Brazil’s patron saint

According to legend, fishermen were inundated with fish to catch soon after finding an image of a black Virgin Mary. Since then, Our Lady of Aparecida has become Brazil's most popular and important saints

october 12 People light candles to celebrate the day of Our Lady of Aparecida. Photo taken on Oct. 12, 2016. Photo: Nelson Antoine/Shutterstock
People light candles to celebrate the day of Our Lady of Aparecida. Photo taken on Oct. 12, 2016. Photo: Nelson Antoine/Shutterstock

October 12 is a religious holiday in Brazil to celebrate Our Lady of Aparecida, the country’s patron saint. According to local legend, on October 12 of 1717, three poor fishermen came across the image of a black Virgin Mary in a river some 170 kilometers from São Paulo. As legend has it, after finding the object, the trio miraculously began to catch hordes of fish.

In a book about the statue and its religious and political significance in Brazil, journalist Rodrigo Alvarez points out what he believes to be the most likely explanation for the feat, that the...

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