Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easter procession in Ouro Preto

Describing the mountain town of Ouro Preto (Black Gold) goes so far beyond anything that can be contained in a single blog post. It requires breaking the rules. In fact, witnessing the Easter procession through the city boggles the mind in terms of trying to tell others of the experience. So in this case I am going to post many, many photos to help communicate just how incredible our Easter getaway in Ouro Preto was with our friends Carlos and Dü.

Sometime around 1698 gold was discovered in the area now known as Ouro Preto. As you can imagine it was not long before it was a very popular place. By 1728 there were more than 40,000 people swarming in this remote mountainous town. Sad to say – many were African slaves brought to do the hard work of mining the precious metal (not to mention building the roads, constructing the many churches, tending the fields and all other acts of labor, hard and otherwise).

What brought us to Ouro Preto this time (we have been three times prior) was the traditional Easter procession that involves most of the community participating in making graphic carpets of natural materials depicting religious themes along nearly 4 kilometers of streets, plus others as actors in the procession portraying the death and (the so-told) resurrection of Jesus. Once the procession begins, they walk over all the carpets from one select church to another. It is amazing.

[people begin at about 9:00 pm the night before, crafting their carpet]

[these three boys worked together - so cute]

[we awoke to a fantastic display of carpets]

[many houses along the route hung out their best linen, or Easter-specific banners]

[this was the final destination church]

[the procession began]

[many young angels - SO cute!]

[it was an hour long procession - but I didn't get many good photos...]

[the priest brought up the rear - all done]


Anonymous said...

Beautiful, Jim -- Funny, in some ways I still can't believe you two are actually living your lives there. The pics and post remind me of being in Antigua, Guatemala during the holy week (semana santa)only it looks like Ouro Preto is on a grander scale. Even though I'm not a particularly religious person, the love expressed for their God and Traditions in the form of the pagentry, and creating these carpets from colored sawdust, only to have them obliterated by the procession a few hours later, is quite moving. Hugs and Health to you guys. Alex

Jim said...

Thanks Alex -- you coined it exactly! Beijos.

Jake said...

Wow, Thanks Jim, for the pics and the explanation. Truly beautiful. The coming together of community to create such collective spiritual beauty even if just for a day is so heart warming. We don't do nearly enough of that here.

Much Love to you and Luiz and friends!