The feast of Corpus Christi is a public holiday in Brazil, where more Roman Catholics live than in any other country on Earth. The holiday occurs on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, which falls anywhere from late May to early June.
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Note: Corpus Christi is an optional holiday, known as Ponto facultativos.
Most Brazilians are off work for both Corpus Christi and the following Friday, which creates a four-day weekend.
Corpus Christi Day was established by Pope Urban IV in A.D. 1264 to celebrate the institution of the Eucharist and the Roman Catholic belief in transubstantiation, to protest against those who deny the presence of Christ’s physical body in the bread of communion, and to ask forgiveness from Jesus for the suffering inflicted on Him.
There are special masses followed by colourful street processions in many towns and cities of Brazil on Corpus Christi.
Candle-lit processions create “trails of light” in Brasilia, embroidered items are laid on public streets in Ibitinga, the embroidery capital of Brazil, and there are many other famous processions such as those in Minas Gerais, where the first such procession in Brazil was held centuries ago.