Since Halloween and Thanksgiving are not celebrated here in Gramado, the Christmas celebration starts on October 30th and goes until January 17th. Gramado is a tourist town and goes all out with the decorations and lighting. On opening night the city has a big lighting ceremony. Elder and Sister Hale had just completed their mission as the Executive Secretary of the MTC in São Paulo and came to Gramado as part of their tour of Brazil. They stayed with us the night of the lighting ceremony, and we went out to dinner at Carlitos, our favorite fondue restaurant, then downtown for the big ceremony.
Three of the branches in our district, including our Gramado Branch, put on a dance and pizza night for the youth. Here are some pictures of the youth at the dance.
The construction of the condominium next door is progressing. They use a lot of skinny little trees to hold up the weight of the second floor concrete.
The countryside around Gramado is very beautiful.
During the Christmas season Gramado does a huge play, called Natal Luz, three nights a week with fireworks and a pageant. The tickets are pretty expensive, so we just watched one night from the sidewalk. There are busloads of tourists that come to town on these nights to watch the play. The title of the play this year is Eu Sou Maria (I am Mary). As a pre-dominately Catholic society, they put more emphasis on Mary than they do on Christ, even at Christmas.