When we arrived in the city of A Guarda in the early afternoon, we came across folks--young and old--hard at work in the middle of the main street. The street had been closed to cars, and they were placing objects on the ground. Youngsters were placing acorns along the outlines of a chalk design, and in the middle, older folks were laying flowers within the chalk lines.
It turns out they were fulfilling an old tradition in the city that is part of the Roman Catholic Festival of the Holy of Holies. After the designs are filled with flowers and grass, the extra space is filled in with chopped hay to form carpets that lead all the way up the street to the church.
In the evening, a procession led by musicians and then children (including angels!) walked up the carpet, stopping for rituals at a convent chapel and finally at the main church.
It was very special to witness so many people working for hours together. And what a blessed tradition. All that work for just a few minutes of fulfillment in the love of God. By bedtime, the streets had been cleaned of the carpets. It reminded me of the Tibetan monks spending days making sand mandalas before blowing them away.
Such beauty... so fragile... like life itself.