Feliz Natal – Happy Christmas

121229-Belém Cidade Luz da Amazônia 3

In Belém do Pará colours and lights ‘invade’ the urban scene with Christmas as outdoor cribs and illumination of squares reinforce the Christmas atmosphere.
Ideas and whimsies abound when it comes to Christmas decorations. Throughout the metropolitan region of Belém, you can find the most diverse examples. From simple to the most grandiose. All with one goal, to remind us that this is not just any time: it’s Christmas. And there are those who decide to do more, literally taking the sentiments of the festivities outdoors, celebrating this special season with all the people around.

This is the case of the Lopes family, who for the second consecutive year, decided to brighten the Rua Marquês de Herval in the Marco district in Belém, assembling a crib in the green strip of this dual carriageway. According to the family matriarch, Ana Lopes, her son Rafael came up with the initiative, but now it has the support of all the residents of the street.

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Last year, the decor was simple and had few elements which referred to Christmas, but with the approval of the community, Ana and her son Rafael decided to innovate. “The first time everything was done just before Christmas, so we could not do what we wanted. This year, the preparation started early, we hired an architect who designed the nativity scene and the illumination”.

The decoration, located in front of the family’s restaurant, was assembled earlier this month, and in the early days the image of the baby Jesus was stolen. Nevertheless, Ana and Rafael did not give up, and bought a new piece. “We don’t get shaken, mainly, because the residents became neighbourhood watchers. Day and night, there is always someone watching. And with that I think we reached our goal to fraternize. It is gratifying to be able to provide for us and our friends something so beautiful”, she says.

Resident of Tavares Bastos in the Marambaia district, retired Maria Nazaré Cunha makes sure to decorate her house for Christmas. The tree and nativity scene are fundamental elements. Regardless of belief or value spent on decorating, the central figure is Jesus Christ. “This is a tradition that I inherited from my family, and for me the decoration demonstrates the meaning and significance of Jesus’ birth. Every year, I try to do something bigger, so that after eight years, I not anymore install a crib in my apartment but in the entry hall of the block where I live. No matter the religion, all residents approve of the decoration”, she says.

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Another initiative that won the approval of the population is the illumination of the Praça Batista Campos, in Belém initiated by the Federation of Industries of the State of Pará (Fiepa). The illumination installed since the Círio de Nazaré (see my article about the Círio), for the second year, encourages private companies and public agencies to do the same. The goal of the project “Belém Cidade Luz da Amazônia” (Belém City of Lights of the Amazon), designed by José Olímpio Bastos, regional superintendent of Social Services of the Industry (SESI),  is to stimulate the family life in public areas, and to approach the population and visitors with regional culture.
Till January 12, 2013, Praça Batista Campos receives daily performances of choir music, dance and folk artists.

Source: O Liberal
Photos Rua Marquês de Herval: Cristino Martins (O Liberal)
Photos Praça Batista Campos: Tarso Sarraf