Carpets (“alfombras”) During Holy Week

Carpets (“alfombras”)

On Good Friday, streets are covered with aromatic carpets (alfombras) of vibrant and beautiful flowers, pines, clover, and fruits. Alfombras form intricate, delicate carpets on the street pavement for the processional route to walk on. Some are long—more than half a mile long—with religious, colonial, Mayan, Roman, or other original designs. Everywhere you turn, you can smell the sweet smell of bougainvillea, chrysanthemums, carnations, roses, lilies, orchids, and other flowers in every color imaginable. 

The themes for the carpets are usually religious. Crosses and hearts are common symbols, but there are also political motifs and the occasional Mayan or Roman themed carpet, depending on where in the world you are partaking in Holy Week. 

Types of Alfombras

There are two types of carpets made during Semana Santa: 1. Elaborate and stunningly beautiful carpets along the processional route, which are made by residents; and 2. Carpets in churches which are made by the brotherhoods for the holy vigils (velaciones). Preparations for the carpets begin weeks, sometimes months, ahead. “In fact, distinct alfombra patterns are handed down from generation to generation!” 

“Carpets along the processional route are made by residents, friends, and families during the 24 hours prior to the procession. When one procession has gone by, a clean-up crew follows to remove the remains. Almost immediately residents begin to build another carpet in anticipation of the next procession later that day or the next.”

“Velaciones are held in the churches that have religious activities during the holiday. These carpets are made by members of the brotherhood responsible for the sculpture. The carpets are made in front of the religious figure on display and are surrounded by fruits, vegetables, and candles brought as offerings to the church the day before.”

 

Thanks to http://www.travelyucatan.com/maya/mayan_holy_week_carpets.php andhttp://www.questconnect.org/guat_semana_santa.htm for quotes and information on alfombras

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