Saint Sebastian of Rio de Janeiro

20 de January de 2017

Hello guys! Ready for another super A Dica do Dia? We will talk about a very important date for the cariocas, on January 20th we commemorate Saint Sebastian in Rio de Janeiro. Did you know that Rio used to be called Saint Sebastian of Rio de Janeiro?Β Says the legend, that during the battle between France and Portugal in Rio de Janeiro, Saint Sebastian was seen fighting alongside the Portuguese and not a single arrow hit him. From that moment on, Saint Sebastian became the patron saint of our well-known, Marvelous City.

The History of Saint Sebastian of Rio de Janeiro

When the Portuguese explorers landed at Guanabara Bay, they thought they had reached the gorge of a gigantic river, Rio in Portuguese! Portuguese explorers arrived at Guanabara Bay in January 1502, and named the new city Rio de Janeiro (River of January). In 1555 Nicolas Durand de Villegagnon led the French troops to conquer the city, managing to turn it into a colony and renaming it “Henriville”, in honor of its king Henrique II.
Under the command of EstΓ‘cio de SΓ‘, the Portuguese fought for a decade to recover the territory; on March 1st 1965 they found a city that we now know as Rio de Janeiro, at which time known as “SΓ£o SebastiΓ£o do Rio de Janeiro”.
It was thus that, every January 20, a procession of the figure of the saint takes place from the Church of the Capuchins in the Tijuca neighborhood to the Metropolitan Cathedral.


What Do People Do This Day?

Saint Sebastian is a Christian saint and also the patron saint of the city of Rio de Janeiro. That is why, on January 20, the Cariocas celebrate his day.

In the historical account, Saint Sebastian was a soldier who enlisted in the Roman army in the year 283 AD. At the time, Rome kept Christian soldiers as prisoners, and Saint Sebastian often visited them. His quiet demeanor towards Christian prisoners made the Roman emperor judge him a traitor. He was condemned to death with arrows in his body.

The Cariocas devote the Day of Saint Sebastian to the procession of Saint Sebastian, that is, a parade in honor of the patron saint of the city, carrying his graceful statue on an altar. People go to the Catholic Church, where they participate in the Mass in the name of holy Saint Sebastian. Then, they walk towards their final destination, making prayers and asking for protection from him in relation to their lives.

The church in which the graceful statue of Saint Sebastian is located is the Catedral Metropolitana de SΓ£o SebastiΓ£o no Rio de Janeiro. You can go visit it on the January 20th. Or, perhaps, you can go on another date on our Cathedral RioLIVE! when you come study Portuguese with us.

In your city, is there a holiday as important as this? Tell us in the comments below!

See you in the next Dica!
An extra kiss from the Rio & Learn team!

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Carioca’s New Year
Festa Junina in Brazil
Lover’s Day