The shrine of Fátima is 100 years old this year, and is one of the world’s most important sites of Marian worship, with pilgrims visiting from all round the world. Located at Cova da Iria, three young shepherds, Lúcia, and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco witnessed multiple apparitions of Our Lady of the Rosary, they were told three secrets by the Virgin Mary. The Bishop of Leiria acknowledged the phenomenon in 1930, leading to the development of the village into a city by 1997.
There are a number of different celebrations you should keep in mind when planning your pilgrimage to Fátima.
12-13th May & 12-13th October
The height of the religious celebrations occur on the 12th-13th May and 12th-13th October, as the 13th are the anniversaries of the first and final apparitions. However, should you arrive on the 12th of either of these months, you will see there are thousands of pilgrims arriving in all manner of ways, from bicycles, ox and donkey carts to walking and even crawling.
On the morning of the 13th, the stature of Our Lady of Fátima is paraded in front of the Basilica and through the central square in front of over 500,000 devoted pilgrims. There is another procession by candlelight in the evening to witness.
13th June and July, and the 19th August
These dates are anniversaries of the other apparitions the young children witnessed, yet they bring in significantly fewer pilgrims and visitors than May and October. This makes them perfect dates if your group of pilgrims wish to avoid large crowds but still witness religious passion. If you’re in Fátima on the 10th of June, you’ll also be able to witness the small but interesting ‘Pilgrimage of the Little Children’ too.
Portuguese public holidays
Many shops will be closed during public holidays, including New Years’ Day, February’s Carnival, Good Friday and Easter Monday. There is also Freedom day on the 25th April, Labour Day on 1st May, Corpus Christi (occurring 60 days from Easter Sunday) and National Day on the 10th June.
Visiting the Shrine of Our Lady of Fátima at any other time of the year will be significantly quieter during the rest of the year and give you the chance to experience a stunning and important holy site.
For more information on organising a pilgrimage to Fátima this October, simply give the team at ITS Travel a call now on 0161 839 1111.