Velankanni Festival is celebrated at the Church of Virgin Mary, the famous Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady, in Velankanni. The church is also famous as the Lourdes of the East. The festival is attended by thousands of people from across all religions.
The temple is linked with many legends, which stated the miraculous healing power of Virgin Mary. One of the legends behind the church is that in the 16th century a ship of the Portuguese wrecked and the sailors vowed to build a great shrine for the Virgin Mary, for saving their lives from the terrible storm. During the festival, the people dressed in orange robes move to the spot where the ship landed.