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Abstract

This contribution analyzes the ‘Círio de Nazaré’ (‘Candle of Nazareth’), one of the largest Catholic religious events, both in Brazil and the world, which takes place on the second Sunday of October in Belém, the capital of the state of Pará and the metropolis of the Amazon. The paper deals with economic advancement and integration by bringing together religious devotees from Para, Brazil and abroad, fostering the growth of trade. Devotees enjoy the beauty offered by the state and the party mobilizes more than two million people, lasting about three weeks. It includes the opening, transfer of the image of Our Lady of Nazareth between the Municipalities of Ananindeua and Marituba, Road Procession, River Pilgrimage (boats carrying devotees around Guajará Bay located at the mouth of Guamá and Acará rivers), Procession of Motorbikes and repatriating the image from a College to the Cathedral Church. The apotheosis happens on Sunday with the Candle cheered by thousands of faithful, paying promises. The festival continues with the ‘Recírio’. The event promotes changes in the lives of the pilgrims and in the socioeconomic profile of the city. The work seeks to clarify the changes in social relations and in religious configuration specially of the Pará people and is exploratory with a qualitative approach, based on religious, economic assumptions, and identifying the determinants of tourism. The work is not explicitly a field study, but much more a description of an event experienced by the authors whose bibliographic sources are still scarce. The theoretical framework is an elaboration of the authors themselves as a result of their knowledge about religious tourism and observations arising from their presence at this feast over the past few years. The socioeconomic and political context explains the natural diversity, religiosity, cultural events and games of local interests, influencing the economic forces, reflecting the growth of Belém (extension of hospitality, implementation of inns, restaurants, creation of entertainment venues) and in the other municipalities of Pará, in the provision of better tourism and leisure options. Thus, opportunities for local development have emerged and there has been improvement of cultural events helping the transformations, with benefits for regional populations.

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