Our Lady Aparecida / Children’s Day

Observed annually in Brazil every October 12th, Our Lady of Aparecida is a national holiday that honors the patron saint of Brazil, the Virgin Mary Aparecida. Known as Nossa Senhora da Conceição Aparecida in Portuguese, this day is part of a 10-day festival that occurs near São Paulo in the city that bears her name: Aparecida.

Many churches across Brazil have been dedicated to her, with the most significant ones being the National Basilica and Brasília’s Cathedral. Our Lady of Aparecida was declared the Patron saint of Brazil by Pope Pius XI in 1929.

The History of Our Lady of Aparecida in Brazil

According to legend, fishermen cast their nets into the Paraíba River and pulled up a small brown statue of the Virgin Mary in 1717. After they retrieved the statue, they cast out their nets once more and caught an entire net of fish — the first catch of fish they had pulled the entire morning.

This was considered a miracle — a miracle that was attributed to the finding of the statue. The area where the “miracle” occurred would later become the city of Aparecida. A church was erected to house the statue, and over the years it became an important destination for many religious pilgrims.

Because of the dark color of the statue, it became a symbol that was particularly important to Afro-Brazilians. Churches dedicated to Our Lady of Aparecida have emerged across Brazil. This day also coincides with Brazil’s Children’s Day.

Some Important Facts About the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida

Below are some important facts about the Cathedral Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady Aparecida in Brazil. We wanted to provide our readers with some additional facts about it that go beyond the scope of this holiday, so we rounded up the following ones for everyone’s consideration.

  • An old wooden Basilica was built where the statue of the Virgin Mary was found.
  • Before it was housed in a Basilica, the statue was kept in the home of Felipe Pedroso, one of the fishermen who found it.
  • The Basilica of the National Shrine is the largest in Latin America.

Observing Our Lady of Aparecida in Brazil

This holiday is observed with a religious festival that lasts over a 10-day period. It is also a public holiday, and many people have the day off. Many businesses, banks, government offices, and schools are closed on this day. People can use the hashtag #NossaSenhoraDaConceicaoAparecida or the hashtag #OurLadyofAparecida on social media to spread the word about this event.

Where is it celebrated?
Brazil (National holiday)
When is it?
This year (2024)
October 12 Saturday
Next year (2025)
October 12 Sunday
Last year (2023)
October 12 Thursday