For more than 450 years, the people of Pearl Fishery Coast has been venerating the miraculous statue of Our Lady of Snows popularly known as “Das Neveis Matha”. Primarily She has been the Coastal People’s Patroness. The major attraction of the Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of the Snows is this statue. This is said to be the priceless patrimony of coastal people presented to them by coastal people’s Saintly Father St.Francis Xavier, a Jesuit missionary.
St Francis Xavier came to India in the year 1542 and after tireless missionary, catechetical and evangelization efforts among the Pearl Fishery Coast Paravars and died at Sancian on December 3, 1552. The popular tradition is that it was at his request the Augustinian nuns in the convent of Manila (Philiippine Island) sent this miraculous statue of Our Lady of the Snows which they cherished in their convent to Tuticorin for the people of Pearl Fishery Coast. The statue arrived at Tuticorin on June 9, 1555.
The very first Golden Car procession was conducted in the year 1720 for the reinstallation of the miraculous statue of Our Lady of Snows and the original statue was taken in procession around the main four streets of Tuticorin. A second new Golden car of 53 feet height on massive six wooden wheels was constructed. The height of this car represents 53 beads of the rosary. The last of the Golden Car procession was in the year 2007.