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In Paraty, the festivities around Easter are quite special. During the week preceding Easter Sunday there are traditional masses and processions, dating from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

The first celebration takes place on Sunday, March 25, one week before Easter Sunday. After the Mass of the Blessing of Ramos, the procession of the same name begins, which recalls Jesus' entry into Jerusalem. On Tuesday, the 27th, the curious Procession of the Meeting is held, also known as Procession of Steps.

In this procession, the men leave the Mother Church, along with the image of the Lord of Passos, and the women leave the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows (the Chapel), with the image of Our Lady of Sorrows. When they are next to the Church of Santa Rita, men and women follow together, crossing the Passos of the Passion, that are represented in six small altars in the streets of the Historical Center. It is only at this time of Easter that the doors that guard these altars are opened. During the rest of the year they remain closed, and it is not possible to see the altars.

Another very special procession is the Procession of the Fogaréu, realized in the dawn of Thursday, after the Mass of the Last Supper and Lava Feet Ceremony. The Fogaréu Procession originates in Spain and Portugal, being brought to Brazil during the colonization. For this reason, this procession is a tradition in colonial cities like Paraty, Tiradentes and Ouro Preto.

The Procession of Fogaréu symbolizes the persecution and imprisonment of Jesus Christ, so it becomes a little macabre. The lights throughout the Historic Center are erased and the faithful carry torches and rattles along the procession, which passes through all the churches in the Historic Center.

The celebrations conclude on Easter Sunday, April 1st, with the Easter Mass and Coronation of Our Lady. It is also on this Sunday that the preparations for the Feast of the Divine Holy Spirit, one of the most important religious festivals in Paraty, take place in May.

Andreia Bianchi