Guatemala is famous for the colorful carpets or alfombras, that cover the cobblestone streets of most towns during Semana Santa or Easter Week. But I was thrilled to arrive in Guatemala City a week after the Easter festivities to find that there were still some carpets left. Some churches were still hosting processions and the carpets are an important feature. The one above is for Saint Francisco. Although the Easter week procession rituals date back to 14th century Spain, the carpets are actually a Mayan tradition. They were created from local materials for kings to walk upon. Today, colored sawdust is typically used to create the more elaborate carpets but flowers, grass, berries, leaves and fruit are also featured.
I was excited to see these school girls finishing up a carpet and standing by to join the procession. They were clearly proud of their work and it was wonderful to actually witness the process of creating the carpets.
These boys were squirting water on the carpets outside the church where the procession would end. The water keeps the carpets fresh and the materials from flying away in a breeze.
I spotted this carpet outside a church in Santiago Atitlan, located a few hours outside of Guatemala City. These towns didn't display the long, complex carpets that Antigua is noted for but it was still a fascinating experience to see the care supplied to creations that would be destroyed by hundreds of feet only a few hours later.