May 11, 2011

Alfombras/ Magic Carpets

Because I cannot go in the garden today (it's raining), and because I know next week I will have much to share ( from a recent trip to Kansas City) I wanted to quickly share with you one of the wonders I saw on my past trip to Antigua, Guatemala.
Semana Santa , the week of Easter, is one of the most celebrated in Antigua. I have read that the Antigua Easter celebration is the second largest in the world. All the weeks of Lent working up to Semana Santa are also filled with traditions. We had the good fortune to be in Antigua the first two weekends of Lent. The Antiguans make "alfombras" (rugs) which are made on the cobblestoned streets

 each Saturday to be walked on by celebrants carrying on their shoulders large (tons large) floats of Easter pageantry. The floats originate at one of the many churches around the village and then the processions begin ,moving from the outer edge of the city to the central Parque of Antigua and passing by the Cathedral.
The rugs are made of colored and dyed sawdust . Everyone helps- adults, Moms, children, teenagers also the people who help are associated in some way with the stores, hotels and homes on the route of the procession for that weekend.  You can also see that rugs can be made from natural materials such as pine needles, flowers and vegetables.
Where did this tradition begin? It is said to originate in Spain and come from the Middle East. But as it is so often in Guatemala there is a Mayan history of Alfombra making. The ancient Mayans were to have made rugs of feathers on which their royalty walked.
Finally the procession and the sweeping up as the procession passes. Catch this link to get the full power of Semana Santa.


paula said...

Beautiful. It reminds me of the Indian (Hindu) designs made with seeds, etc. Paula

Carole Buschmann said...

Paula, Thank you for the comment. I am woefully behind in writing and looking at my blog and your comment inspires me to carry on!


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