Every year Mariamabad village in Punjab province becomes a destination for devotees from all over the country.
More than a million devotees and young people from all over Pakistan travel to the shrine on foot, by bicycle or in vehicles to queue for hours and pray at the Marian shrine for special favors. Many light candles or incense sticks. Some cover the statue of the Blessed Mother with embroidered dupattas (long scarfs) and silver crowns.
In keeping with tradition, thousands of Muslims also express their personal devotion to Mary, whom the Quran honors as the mother of Jesus, considered a prophet. The non-stop processions head towards a grotto that is a replica of the one in Lourdes, France. Other events include healing prayers, gospel singing, sharing of testimonies and rosary recitations.
Young people dance to the beat of large drums, Qawwals (a devotional style of music rooted in Sufism) feature in night performances, while business continues round the clock in the shops.