Brightly Colored Carpets of Sawdust and Flowers for Easter in Guatemala Part 1 of 3

Easter Peace

Peace signs at Easter

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.

Boys in Guatemala

About midnight on Easter eve, starting the alfombra.

Tzutujil Men before Easter

The start of a long night of making alfombras in San Pedro La Laguna.

Leaves and Bark

This alfombra has a base of leaves and bark.

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.

Lake Atitlan Tourism Ladie Pine and flowered alfombra Guatemala ladies
Tz'utujil Ladies making an alfombra

Tz'utujil Ladies making an alfombra.

Quetzal in Guatemala Quetzal design Quetzal at Lake Atitlan Guatemala

Completed Quezal birdThis 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.

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