Tag Archives: Catholics

Easter in Nova Jerusalém

TV actors Thiago Lacerda and Floriano Peixoto as Jesus and Pilatus. Photo by Karla Vidal/Flickr
TV actors Thiago Lacerda and Floriano Peixoto as Jesus and Pilatus. Photo by Karla Vidal/Flickr

Since the sixties, the small town of Brejo de Deus, in the dry lands of the state of Pernambuco, promotes an Easter presentation depicting the passion of Christ that became (according to its organizers) the largest outdoor show in the world. The town incorporated the spirit of the original Jerusalem and built 4 meter (13 feet) tall ramparts and towers. Today, the comunity, rebaptized as Nova Jerusalém (New Jerusalem), receives around 80,000 visitors every year for an event that is considered an example of efficient organization. The audience moves from stage to stage – nine in total, from Herodes palace to the Golgotha – to watch the 550 actors and extras, plus all sorts of animals, in action. The technical crew is composed of 400 professionals.

It is maybe kitsch, but also unique and a great source of income for a region where there is little water and economy. At least 3 million people visited Brejo de Deus since the first shows, leaving money for the small hotels, shops, restaurants and street vendors.

Have a glimpse of the atmosphere at Nova Jerusalém these days thanks to this (poor quality  home video):

13 things you didn’t know about Carnival

Carnival in the historic center of Salvador. Photo by the Government of Bahia/Flickr


  1. If you decide to watch the Carnival parade in Rio and rent a box (that may be covered or not and fits between four and 24 people), you will pay something between R$ 18,500 (11,100 dollars) and R$ 83,000 (50,000 dollars), according to Liga Independente das Escolas de Samba do Rio (Liesa).
  2. Last year, 600 thousand condoms were distributed by the government to the crowd who was celebrating Carnaval in Olinda, state of Pernambuco. The city, that has around 380 thousand inhabitants, received 1,5 million visitors who left behind them 266 tons of trash in the historic quarters.
  3. There are several versions for the origin of the word Carnaval. Some authors say that, in Ancient Rome, during the festivities in honor of god Saturn, cars that looked like ships (“carrum navalis”) would cross the streets transporting naked men and women. Other sources believe that it comes from carne (flesh or meat) – it would refer to the period of the year when Catholics don’t eat meat.
  4. The Church, despite an initial opposition to Carnival, decided in the year 590 to give the festivities its blessings, under one condition – the day after, Ash Wednesday, should be dedicated to repent and sin expiation. Today, it is mainly dedicated to hangover. Continue reading 13 things you didn’t know about Carnival