What with supermarket aisles full of Christmas decorations and street corners dotted with nativity scene ready miniature mangers is it clear the holidays are fast approaching. It´s only a matter of time till the first “flor de coco” vendors show up. However, there is one major holiday that must be celebrated before Paraguayans can start contemplating the menu for the midnight Christmas meal or which night club is best for ringing in the new year on the dance floor: the “Día de la Virgen de Caacupé.” Here is an excerpt from my upcoming Paraguay guidebook on this national holiday:
“The Virgen de Caacupé is not only the patron saint of the town Caacupé itself but also of Paraguay as a whole. As such, she engenders particular devotion in Paraguayans, drawing well over one million devotees from this nation of six million to her hometown in the days leading up to December 8 th. The “Day of the Virgin of Caacupé” is one of Paraguay´s most important holidays. The procession to Caacupé is like something out of the “Canterbury Tales” – part walk-a-thon and part street-fair. The faithful arrive in droves from the entire country, the majority on foot but some by other means. The extremely pious travel on their knees. Others travel on bicycle, and, though it is becoming a rare sight, some pilgrims from the countryside make their way by ox-drawn cart. Participating in the pilgrimage to Caacupé is a unique opportunity to witness Paraguay’s religious fervor at its apex. “
In order to help you prepare for this unique Paraguayan style adventure I´m sharing the following Caacupé-related stories and advice from years past. So read up, put on your most comfortable shoes, find yourself a pilgrimage-mate, and make your way to Caacupé!
- Virgen de Caacupé Weekend – Virgen de Caacupé Weekend : Who, what, why. The basics about this national religious holiday.
- Walking to Caacupé – Caminando a Caacupé : A writeup of my personal experience walking to Caacupé.
- The Pilgrimage to Caacupé – El Peregrinaje a Caacupé : Some photos from the road and safety tips.