Brazil boasts the world's largest population of Catholics. No wonder, Easter is celebrated all across the country. The festivities last for the entire Semana Santa (Holy Week) which starts on Palm Sunday and culminates on Good Friday. The week-long celebrations incorporate religious services, ceremonies, and various reenactments of the Passion of Christ. Easter Day comes right after the Holy Week bringing more joyful festivities.
Easter Sunday Procession in Ouro Preto
Even though the feast is celebrated nationwide, one of the most popular and worth attending celebrations are observed on Easter Day in the colonial town of Ouro Preto in Minas Gerais. The main highlight of the feast is a two-hour Easter Sunday Procession featuring Biblical figures. Nearly 2.5 miles (4 km) of the parade's route is decorated with a bright elaborate carpet made of flowers, sand, and sawdust. Natural materials are designed into intricate patterns that depict religious themes. The decoration process starts on Saturday evening at around 8 pm and continues throughout the night. During the process children, dressed in white, sing religious songs. The parade itself starts on Easter Sunday. This colorful tradition began back in 1733.
What's interesting, the route of the parade always stretches from one church to another set at different edges of Ouro Preto, but the start and end points vary depending on the year. In the odd-numbered years, the procession sets off from Igreja de Nossa Senhora de Conceição and arrives at Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Rosário. Whereas in even-numbered years, the parade changes its course starting from Basilica de Nossa Senhora do Pilar and ending at the plaza of Igreja Bom Jesus de Matosinhos.