Alfombras, Alfombras, and more Alfombras

During Lent here in Antigua, Guatemala there are a lot of street Processions. Before the Processions begin, local families and businesses create an alfombra, which is Spanish for the word carpet. These “carpets” are placed in the middle of the cobblestone streets to soon be trampled by the oncoming Processions. These Alfombras are made from differing materials such as flowers, dyed sawdust, pine needles, fruits, vegetables and more. The life of an alfombra is usually a short one, for some as little as an hour or two. Nonetheless, for such a short existence they make quite an impression…

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Antigua Easter Parades

The grandest holiday in Guatemala is Easter and the week preceeding Easter, Semana Santa. Hundreds of thousands of visitors descend on the colonial town of Antigua to be a part of the festivities. A primary feature of the festivities are the Processions in the streets. The parades actually take place every weekend for the five weeks leading up to Holy Week, or Semana Santa. The climax of the celebration would be Good Friday, two days before Easter Sunday. During Semana Santa the whole of Antigua is packed but especially on Thursday and Friday.

Hours before the parade people prepare alfombras, or carpets, in the middle of the streets. These “carpets” line the path of the Procession. They are made of pine needles, dyed sawdust and other organic materials such as flowers, fruits and vegetables. The alfombras are usually made by an extended family or local businesses. Some take several people and hours of work to complete. The existence of an alfombra is a short one as hours after their completion they are trampled over by the Procession. As the parade draws near people line the sides of the streets staking out their spot.