In the late night and morning hours after Saturday night’s Easter Vigil, townspeople decorate the cobblestone streets with a tapete, or carpet, of colored wood shavings to mark the hilly, one kilometer route for the next morning's Easter procession.
Ouro Preto culminates its Holy Week observances with a 6 a.m. Mass at St. Francis of Assisi and a procession along the 1 km route covered that decorated the night before in beautiful tapete, or sawdust carpets.
With 13 baroque churches, colonial architecture, and lush, steep terrain, Ouro Preto is a gem of a town, well known for its Holy Week observances, featuring no fewer than eight processions and special activities.
At both Christmas and Easter liturgies, dance is incorporated into Catholic worship, to communicate the importance of these days and to help tell the stories behind them. Yapese Catholics spoke about these dances as means to communicate what’s most sacred and deep about the Christian story in their own language and mode of expression.
Many Filipinos rise before dawn for Easter celebrations, which often begin with a ritual procession called Salubong, or welcome. At Salubong, a statue of Mother Mary, dressed in mourning and carried by the women of the town, meets and welcomes a statue of the Risen Christ, carried by the men.
During Holy Week, Filipino devotional culture takes on an especially penitential tone, in ways that particularly reflect its Spanish colonial heritage, and even its pre-Christian heritage, but have continued to evolve over the years. Filipinos who tend not to be fully observant liturgically the rest of the year see it as very important to participate in liturgies and devotions this week.
Just before Lent, villagers in the Ciuc Valley hold a raucous procession called the "Carnival Burial," which ends with the burning of a straw man. At Easter, families present their food baskets for blessings by the parish priest, while young men go "watering" neighborhood women like flowers with water or perfume.
Semana Santa processions are unparalleled in Seville, where 60 official processions traverse the center city throughout Holy Week from afternoon deep into the night.
In a holy season beginning with a Great Lent fast lasting longer than 40 days, to "Willow Sunday," and a midnight Resurrection Matins on Easter, followed by "Bright Week," Ukrainian Greek Catholics have no more iconic tradition than their exquisitely decorated eggs, and no more beloved practice than the blessing of Easter baskets.