Holy Week Elements: Alfombras

Rudy Giron: AntiguaDailyPhoto.com &emdash; Holy Week Elements: Alfombras

The processional carpets are among the most creative and colorful elements of the Holy Week in La Antigua Guatemala. In this case, it was the turn for the students of the Art Department of the University of Texas at Austin who got together to create a sawdust carpet with flowers.

As I’ve mentioned before, the making of carpets from sawdust, pine-needles, flowers, vegetables is a community-forming tradition.

By tradition, people get together by block or near-by neighbors to create the carpets on which the processions will pass by. Sometimes the making of the carpets is done at night so they are ready for next day’s procession. The colorful processional carpet elaboration process 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!

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