Lots has been happening for me and Sean in Belém recently. We took a weekend trip to Marajó Island which was a nice little getaway and last weekend was the famous Círio de Nazaré celebration. The tradition of Círio actually lasts for almost the entire month of October. It is a religious festival that involves the pilgrimage of many Catholics to worship an image of Saint Mary. During the celebration, the population of the city swells to more than double and there are a variety of different church services and masses, processions and performances. It's known as the largest religious festival in South American and being able to witness the event was not only really interesting but also a little overwhelming and emotional.
The first part of Círio takes place on Saturday morning on the river and is called Círio Fluvial. The saint is escorted down the river to the port of Belém by a large group of decorated boats. We watched the aquatic pilgrimage from the balcony of one of the Fulbright coordinators who has a superb view of the spectacle. She also offered us breakfast and lunch replete with homemade traditional foods. It was a fun and relaxing morning eating, catching up with the other ETAs, and kicking off the holiday weekend with plenty of fireworks and elaborately decorated boats. After lunch, Sean and I headed home to nap and recharge before the evening festivities began.