At 6 a.m., worshipers fill the baroque church of St. Francis of Assisi for Easter Mass, and crowds begin to gather outside for the procession, which re-creates much of the biblical Salvation history. The procession includes altar boys with bells, costumed confraternity members, a brass band, figures representing dozens of characters from the Old and New Testaments, and a Eucharistic procession. The procession walks up and down the carpeted hills, along a winding route to Our Lady of the Pillar Basilica. Immediately after the procession, the beautiful sawdust “carpets” are swept away.
After the Easter Vigil, townspeople work through the night to lay elaborate sawdust carpets along cobblestone streets in Ouro Preto. On Easter morning, the procession follows the carpeted route to Our Lady of the Pillar Basilica.