This was a truly magical experience. First of all, the whole town comes out and lays flowers on the street in patterns and designs all along the alleys and walkways (which are also the streets by the way). Most of the students helped and a few of us created our own designs in each square. Most of the designs though were done by the townspeople. What we assume is that each person has a section in front of their down that they decorate. In some areas it was definitely a case of each person trying to out-do their neighbor.
The laying of the flowers alone was wonderful but then around noon the procession started. The first to come through was Jesus on the cross under a little gold embroidered canopy held up by three men of the church (clergymen?) and then there was a band, then a big canopy with what I assume was the priest or bishop (I'm not up on my Catholic hierarchy) holding a religious item of some sort. This was followed by the altar boys and girls and then the young children (dressed in angel costumes) who were receiving their first communion. They walked up and down and around most of the streets and stopped once in front of what was either the church or the school (it may have been both) and then stopped again in the piazza for the ceremony.
Now, I'm not Catholic, and I'm not even very religious, but it was an incredibly moving experience listening the the priest/bishop and watching the children and then watching, all at once and in unison, every villager cross their chest. Not to get too much into religion, but in whatever form you may believe God exists, I felt that there on that day. I even feel it now as I remember the experience. It was breathtaking and emotional and incredibly spiritually moving. I teared up a little bit and others said they did too.
Not to sound cliche but I know I'll remember that moment for the rest of my life.