I’ve read the phrase “a carpet of flowers” in a number of books, and heard people refer to spring wildflower blooms in those terms. But I’d never actually seen a carpet of flowers until Easter Sunday.
In São Brás, about a 15-minute drive away, Easter is celebrated with the Procession of Torches, an event that draws people from all over. In the wee hours of Sunday morning, while the rest of the town sleeps, women of the community labor through the darkness to lay out a perfect carpet of flowers. It starts at the old church and wanders through the town’s center, going up one main avenue and down another, before returning.
It is a sight to behold, and smells as good as it looks. The flowers are mostly wild or garden grown, collected or donated locally — lavender, chrysanthemum, roses, daisies, chamomile…and rosemary sprigs for some of the greenery.
This year, it rained during the night. Not the most ideal of working conditions for the ladies, but absolutely perfect for keeping the flowers fresh. The effect the next morning was stunning.
We followed the carpet through town to the old church, where the pattern briefly expanded into an enormous design. This was where the procession really got going (though it starts right at the church steps).
Tomorrow I’ll post photos of the procession itself. To get an idea of what happens, take a look at the signs on the church wall — they say, “Ressuscitou como disse!
Aleluia! Aleluia! Aleluia!” Which means, “He rose [was resurrected] just as he said!” We heard that quite a bit during the procession. Let’s just say that this is an Easter celebration that has nothing to do with bunnies or eggs.