In Brazil, the October 12th is a national holiday dedicated to “Nossa Senhora Aparecida”, the patron saint of the country. But what is the history behind the saint and why does it have a holiday in her honor? Get to know the history of “Nossa Senhora Aparecida”!
It all starts in October of 1717, at the Paraíba do Sul river, in the village of Santo Antônio de Guaratinguetá, São Paulo. A 36 cm and 2,5 kg saint was found in the river by some fishermen. That’s why her name is “Aparecida” (“appeared”, in Portuguese).
By 1745, a chapel was built in the city and drew the attention of more and more religious people. That same city is now known as Aparecida. The recognition of the saint started to grow as the villagers of Santo Antônio de Guaratinguetá talked about the miracles involving Nossa Senhora.
A fun fact – Princess Isabel visited the city of Aparecida in 1868 to ask the saint for protection for a pregnancy. Years later, she had three children. Isabel even gave a golden crown to Nossa Senhora Aparecida.
The saint became the official patron of Brazil in 1930, as a decision of Pope Pius XI, and later formalized in 1931 in a religious mass in Rio de Janeiro. But the national holiday was signed only in 1980, during João Figueiredo’s presidency, the last president of the 1964 Brazilian dictatorship, and during the first visit of a Pope to Brazil (His Holiness John Paul II).
October 12th was chosen for the holiday because it is the same date that Christopher Columbus came to the American continent. It was also the day that Don Pedro I was crowned Imperator.