Often called “Alfombras de Aserin” or carpets of sawdust, this Easter tradition in Guatemala is incredibly beautiful and has aspects of its roots solidly in Mayan traditions that go back to long before the Spanish arrived. With the Spanish came the use of sawdust and flowers for colorful street decorations at Easter-time. The colorful and fragrant use of carpets of pine needles, flowers and other natural elements has its beginnings in the Mayan custom of creating pathways for kings and priests to walk on when entering ceremonial locations and for use in sacred spaces. In the alfombras of Guatemala you see a blending of both.
In the town of San Pedro La Laguna, at Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, the people take Easter alfombras quite seriously. Starting the evening before Easter the towns people work all through the night assembling their works of art. They use an assortment of sawdust, vegetables, flowers, tree bark and other natural elements.
This photo set is of the assembling of the alfombras. I took most of these pictures early on Easter Sunday morning. My next post will show many of the completed works which will be followed by a post of the procession from the church around town.