Antigua Guatemala is famous for its vibrant, elaborate religious festivities during the Antigua Semana Santa, or Holy Week, leading up to Easter. Thousands of national and international visitors crowd the cobblestoned streets to watch the costumed processions, reenactments of the crucifixion, and other ceremonies.
The most awe-inspiring part of Antigua’s Semana Santa, however, are the brilliant carpets, or “alfombras”. Sand or sawdust is used to level the cobblestones, and is dyed different colors and interwoven with bright flowers, other plants, and pine needles. The result is designs so intricate, it seems tragic when the processions pass over and trample them!
The centerpiece of each procession is a large wooden float depicting a scene from the Passion of Jesus Christ. The floats, which are carried through the streets of Antigua for up to eight hours, are lavishly decorated and weigh several thousand pounds.
Residents along the route of the processions often create elaborate carpets of pine needles, flowers and colored sawdust in the street for the processions to walk over. This tradition dates back to the 16th century and was meant to ease walking on the uneven cobblestone streets. Antigua Guatemala is one of very few places in Latin America where this tradition is still alive.
Happy Easter Everyone!!!