Every 8 December is Virgin of Caacupé Day in Paraguay. This date is celebrated as the Feast of Immaculate Conception in other Roman Catholic countries. It is basically the same as celebration but in Paraguay it involves additional elements and distinct ways of celebrating. Virgin of Caacupé Day has been a part of Paraguayan tradition for hundreds of years.
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The story behind the holiday runs like this. In 1600, a Guarani native and Paraguayan sculptor named Jose was fearful of a party of Indians from another tribe and asked for protection from the Virgin. The Virgin Mary then appeared to him and told him to hide behind a particular tree. He did so and was saved.
Jose had promised the Virgin that he would sculpt her a statue if she helped him, so he kept his word by sculpting that very tree into a statute of Mary. Then, decades later, a church was erected on the site of the tree. Later still, this became The Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Miracles in the modern city of Caacupé. On Virgin of Caacupé Day, many people throughout Paraguay go on pilgrimage to this cathedral.
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