Holy Week in Brazil Posted by on Apr 18, 2011 in Holidays, Uncategorized

Holy Week, Semana Santa, for Christians all over the world, started yesterday.  The Brazilian Catholic population celebrates Semana Santa like most other countries, but a few special plays around the country makes the Brazilian celebrations unique –

Procissão do Fogaréu em Goiás Velho

This procession is held on Holy Thursday, and is mostly famous in Goiás Velho, in the state of Goiás, especially for its reenactment of Christ’s arrest, and farricocos, men in robes carrying torches (instead of soldiers). Here’s a video from the celebration a couple of years ago.

Paixão de Cristo em Nova Jerusalém

All week during Holy Week, there is a reenactment of the Passion of Christ (Paixão de Cristo) in Nova Jerusalém, an open air theater town, in Brejo da Madre de Deus, in the state of Pernambuco. It’s known to be the largest open air theater in the world, taking up 38 square miles and nine sets, overall.

Starting off small in the 1950s, the plays have grown to having 50 actors, 500 extras, and 8,000 spectators for each performance. Below is a short clip from Nova Jerusalem –

There are many other plays all over the country, including smaller ones in small rural churches, as well as numerous other celebrations and traditions. Yet I feel the play or reenactment culture is alive in Brazil during Holy Week for Catholics and non-Catholics alike because of its theater going nature.

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