I was born and raised in Fátima. Located in central Portugal this small town is a true magnet for religious people, and it is worldwide known. Nevertheless some of you may be wondering what makes Fátima so special. Well, instead of writing a whole page of history I’m going to show you an excerpt of a conversation I had a couple of days ago with a cherished friend. This small excerpt pretty much sums up the whole story:
“Once upon a time
(in 1917 to be more specific)
three kids told everyone that a miracle was going to take place on a certain day
so thousands of people from all around Portugal came to see the miracle
and guess what? People did saw a miracle.
Normal cultures would have associated this case with UFOs and forget all about them,
but because this is Portugal they said it was god, and a sanctuary was built.
Since then, on every May 13th, many catholics from all around the world gather around in my hometown to make noise, cause car accidents and litter the streets with garbage.
Nowadays Fátima is full of small souvenir shops, and by souvenirs I mean religious related stuff. This town doesn’t have parks or recreational places, so if you live here you won’t find any good place to walk your dog, or stalk girls jogging in their leggings. Every square feet of green grass have been substituted with a souvenir shop.
In almost every shop you can find postcards, crucifixes to hang on a wall, crucifixes to hang on your neck, crucifixes to hang on your ears, crucifixes to hang on your wrists, crucifixes to hang in your car, lighters with the holy virgin stamped on it (which probably reduce the chances of lung cancer), and pocket knives with a stamped Jesus (in case you want to give someone a holy stab).
In some shops you can also find several things made of wax, like small holy Marys and baby Jesus, or even parts of human bodies, like hands, feet, and heads (which is not creepy at all), and if you look well enough at the back of some shops you can also find wax asses, that is right, wax asses, try saying it out loud. Selling wax asses is one of the few things in life that makes perfect sense, because who doesn’t want to have a wax ass on a shelf right next to a family picture?
I almost forgot, the town also has a big sanctuary. Inside you can find a church (dah!), a gold museum, and almost exclusively for priests there is also a canteen that puts some of the finest restaurants in the country to shame. Right next to the sanctuary you can also find a relatively new chapel that cost the modest quantity of 8 million euros. Inside this giant chapel you won’t find anything to see, except giant doors made of bronze and a big altar covered with four different kinds of gold. There is also a place where people burn candles to pray for their loved ones. The wax from this candles is then reused to make more candles, or some other things. In the rest of the town you can also find several houses for nuns, where you can take shelter for a night, if you’re willing to pay them well enough.
And that’s everything there is to say about Fátima.
Oh, did I mentioned the souvenir shops?