Semana Santa 2013. Alfombra-making 101

During Semana Santa in Antigua, Guatemala, groups of people related by family, work, friendship, association in a brother- or sisterhood, or by other ties I probably don’t know about, band together to construct elaborate “alfombras” or carpets, often referred to as “sawdust rugs.” The rugs are constructed in the street, over the cobblestones, or inside churches.

Although most commonly made from sawdust that is saturated with color and then dried, the alfombras can be made from anything: fruit, vegetables, pine needles—I even saw a Noah’s Ark filled with plastic figurines. The process takes hours, and many, many hands. Ironically, the alfombras are made to be destroyed—-at some point in the day or night a large religious procession will pass by and walk over it; more on this in another blog post—which for me as an “American” was a hard concept to grasp.

But now I get it. The honor is in the tradition, the building, the creative satisfaction, and, in this deeply religious country, the offering of one’s efforts for the glory of God.

 

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One Response to “Semana Santa 2013. Alfombra-making 101”

  1. [...] church known as La Merced around then, and would arrive at Calle Ancha by 7. As I explained in an earlier blog post, an essential element of constructing the carpets—for the artist and viewer—is watching [...]

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