Easter in Ouro Preto

By 22 April, 2011

For most of the year Ouro Preto is a very peaceful village with colonial architecture and a perfect location in the mountains. The only two times that this tranquility is roused into activity are Carnival and Holy Week, which is happening right now. This is our photo journey of the event.

Holy Week, or Semana Santa as it is known in Latin countries, lasts from Palm Sunday until Resurrection Sunday. In 2011, the dates for Holy Week are 17th April until 24th April. During these days Ouro Preto dresses itself in flowers, cloth and processions of Biblical figures parade through the streets.

One of the most impressive characteristics of Easter in Ouro Preto are the graphic carpets, made out of natural materials, that the residents line the streets with (this is pictured above). The carpets depict religious themes and run for nearly 4 kilometres along the streets of the town. Once the procession begins they walk all over these carpets as the procession moves from one church to another.

The Minas Gerais state is known for its silver and gold mines. The translation of Minas Gerais is, after all, General Mines. The translation of Ouro Preto is Black Gold. It was a village at the heart of a tremendous gold and silver rush in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. In total, there are 13 churches in the city, though it’s hard to escape the pull of the cathedral Matriz de Nossa Senhora, which dominates the skyline.

An interesting curiosity of Easter in Ouro Preto is that on even-numbered years the procession leaves from Igreja Nossa Senhora do Pilar and heads towards the plaza of Igreja Bom Jesus de Matosinhos, whereas in odd-numbered years it starts in Nossa Senhora da Conceição de Antonio Dias and heads towards Nossa Senhora do Rosário.

All photos by Luciano Osorio

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