In Antigua Guatemala, you can always tell when Holy Week dates are getting nearer. The processions are bigger, for one.
Alfombras (sawdust carpets) get bigger and more elaborate. And there’s a noticeable swell in crowd numbers.
Last week, I was at Santa Ines del Monte Pulciano (Santa Ines, as locals call it), to witness the week’s biggest procession. The
alfombras were the best I’ve seen so far – and I’ve seen some good ones this season.
Instead of creating a post, I’ve decided to make this a slideshow gallery – comments are embedded under each picture, so start with whichever photo you like best.
Sawdust carpets are created by using cutouts. It can be painstaking work if many colors are to be used.
While most alfombras are created by families, some business join in by creating their own alfombras – in part to do a bit of marketing as well, as you can see here with Hotel Casa Santo Domingo’s logo being integrated into the design.
Another business-sponsored alfombra, this time by a pottery shop. Once an anda passes over an alfombra, everything that remains behind is scooped up by onlookers – the clay tree at the center is a nice souvenir, as long as it didn’t break into pieces.
This is an unusual design, as black sawdust is rarely very prominent as the dominant color.
Each section of an alfombra must be filled in carefully – the size of an alfombra often necessitating long wooden boards across the top so that alfombra makers can finish their designs.
Alfombra makers placing lettuce leaves around their design. Could all-vegetable alfombras become a trend like flower carpets did?
Pine straw and corozo palm alfombra.
Mixed alfombra, which includes sawdust, flowers and corozo into its design.
Lacking time, a pinesstraw bed alfombra is the easiest way to create a base.
Guatemalan call this dessert turron, but it’s known as meringue pretty much everywhere else.
Traditional Guatemalan “pigskin” balls. While they’re called that here – tripa de coche – they’re actually made out of a substance extracted from the so-called “rubber” tree.
Garnachas – small, fried tortilla topped with picled cabbage, a bit of meat, and some dressing. Popular street fair item.
Corbatas – yes, it means ties. But it’s also a sticky, sweet confection made with fried flour, covered in honey.
Santa Ines procession as it left church.
This procession was well attended, as it was the most important procession of the week.
Teaching of traditions starts early.
The timonel – center of anda – directs the pace and rhythm of the procession.
Children underneath keep a lookout for alfombra objects that may trip up anda bearers.
Santa Ines Anda
This band director had more panache than all other directors I’ve seen before put together. The man directed with style.
Band plays funeral marches.
Children carrying burning incense.
Children often accompany their fathers.
For males participating in a procession, the attire is a hooded purple tunic. For females, a black or white dress with a white veil.
Keeping the band in a moving barricade.
Some people make the trek from long distances to pay homage to a saint they’ve sworn devotion to.
Did you attend this procession? Share below!