Holy Week Processional Carpets

Holy Week Carpet Making: Precision

Some people have traveled the world over just to be present for the world-famous Holy Week in La Antigua Guatemala. Some people just have to open their front doorway and go outside to be part of Semana Santa in Guatemala.

One very important aspect or distinction of what makes the celebrations of the Holy Week or Semana Santa in Antigua Guatemala so special and unique is the colorful processional carpet elaboration process, which, quite often, involves the whole family, close friends, the neighborhood and the entire community. It does not matter if it’s just grandma throwing some corozo (corozo palms) and dried purple flowers to elaborate a humble alfombra in front of her home or it is a team of members of the cuadra (the block), or if a son lends a hand to a dad to put the final touches on the brightly-colored sawdust carpet, the devotion and the do-good spirit are present everywhere you look. This is the week of the year when Guatemalans stand as one people!

Holy Week processional carpets can be made from colorful sawdust, richly-scented pine needles and corozo palms, sweet-smelling flowers and tropical fruits and vegetables. Alfombras procesionales de Samana Santa (Holy Week processional carpets) can be delightful to see with their intricate design and patterns before every procession throughout the Lent and the Holy Week. However, it is a richer experience to be present through the elaboration process and to be part of it by lending a hand and talking to the creators who are more than happy to include you as part of the family, friends and community. To some people from other parts of the world it might be a weird and pleasant experience to realize that people here “know” their neighbors and the entire community.

If you are right now in La Antigua Guatemala, don’t miss this unique opportunity to be part of the elaboration of the world-famous Holy Week processional carpets!

Holy Week Carpet Making: Friends Holy Week Carpet Making: Community

Holy Week Carpet Making: Grandma Holy Week Carpet Making: Lending a hand

© 2009 – 2013, Rudy Girón. All rights reserved.

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  • robin

    I really like the colorful carpets. Thanks for the photos.

  • Ale

    Beautiful colors! One of my goals is to go back to guate for semana santa. I left when I was a child and the times I’ve been back have been at other times of the year. The picture of the viejita with the purple flowers is great.

  • emromesco

    Pues may your words be those of a prophet and Guatemala finally stand up as one people… falta que le hace. I am more of a pessimist and I am always looking at the weak side of human nature (particularly on the nature of the humans that populate my motherland). I will keep my current thoughts to myself in the meantime… and wish you all over there a nice relaxing week and a time for reflection if not renewal.

  • Great series of photos.

  • @Everyone, I often look at the stats to make sure things are running smooth and out of curiosity, however, your comments are really what makes publishing the daily photo worth it and they are far more important to me that the stats ever will.

    @Ale, I thank you so much for all the wonderful feedback you left in the comments throughout the months. I agree with you, the picture of the grandma was the most moving to me since I have lost both of my grandmothers.

    @emromesco, you know me well and you know I am no prophet, but I do call things as I see them. I wish you stop keeping your thoughts to yourself and come here let them all out. What good is La Antigua Guatemala Daily Photo if people do not exchange opinions, points of view, thoughts, ideas, et-cetera. I swear, sometimes I feel like quitting the AntiguaDailyPhoto because if I wanted a monologue, I would just listen to the people inside my head. Honest, if this web site can not generate discussions, what good is it or is it worth having, really?

    @Lessie, you are one of my most faithful commenters. I appreciate you very much!

  • Claudia

    I love the colors . . . I want to say your picture conveys much more than images, corozo, with its distinct smell, the colors of aserrin, the family/friends/or cuadra tradition of elaborating alfombras, fancy or not – doesn’t matter – the cobblestones uneven under your footing, the hot March/April sun. . . I favor the pic of the old lady, my grandma/family would not do an alfombra, however, she would do a huerto in the living room full of tropical fruits, candles, and of course religious figures/pictures.

  • Eclipsedeluna

    Hey Rudy… thanks for the pictures.. I can smell the incienso and the aserrin. Brings me back memories that I did not want to forget or put way back in my mind but with time you tend to foget the things that made us who we are.
    Just like emromesco I have little faith in people, but not only my people in Guatemala but all (even worse).. but I do believe that there are times when people do come together even if it is to enjoy certain parties or celebrations. Guatemalans are good at that, loving, warm people that I tend to miss a lot. I wish I could go back and stay a while to be able to take back everything I left behind and pass it on to my children.
    Thanks a lot Rudy I really enjoy your pictures.