THE FOGAREU PROCESSION | A secular Christian tradition

With a few minutes to midnight, a group of 40 hooded men leave a secular mansion in the center of the city of Goiás. In their colorful satin robes they prepare for the Fogareu Procession, always staged during the Christian Holy Week and one of the most traditional manifestations of the country. Brought to the region 270 years ago by spanish priests, it symbolizes the search and imprisonment of Jesus in Jerusalem. The masked, called Farricocos, represent his pursuers. Some of the members, all men, have participated in the procession for more than 30 years and tradition is passed generation after generation. From early on, the children of the city learn about Fogareu and have their own procession, called "Fogareuzinho" (little Fogareu), which happens in the early afternoon. Meanwhile volunteers begin tidying up the tunics and hoods of adults, plus torches made from aluminum cans, tow and 150 liters of kerosene. There are 40 for the Farricocos and 310 more for the spectators who accompany the procession.

At midnight sharp, the procession leaves the Church of Nossa Senhora da Boa Morte and passes in front of the house where the famous brazilian poetess Cora Coralina lived, now a museum. Accompanied by a small martial band that dictates the rhythm of the march they cross the city illuminating lanes and alleys standing with their torches, watched by the crowd that follows the procession. On the steps of the Church of Sao Francisco de Paula, the white-robed farricoco raises a linen banner painted with the image of the Flagellated Christ, symbolizing the capture of Jesus. From there, they return to the bandstand square, where the procession ends after little more than an hour and a half of course.

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