In Bolivia, not only is Corpus Christi a national holiday, but it is celebrated with a fervour that is eclipsed only by that of Christmas and Easter. Most people in the country will be off work and school to allow them time to take part in the observances.
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Though originally begun by Belgian nun named Juliana of Liege and then instituted by Pope Urban IV in the 13th Century, it was Thomas Aquinas who contributed many of the rituals that now typify Corpus Christi Day masses the world round. For example, Aquinas’ hymns are often sung on this day.
After mass, each town generally puts on one or more religious street processions meant to honour the holy Eucharist. In Santa Cruz, a mega-mass is held in massive Tahuichi Stadium, while in more rural areas of Bolivia, priests bless people’s personal belongings. Native American cultural elements may be intermixed with Catholic traditions.