Holy Week in Guatemala

Antigua, Guatemala, hosts the largest celebration of Lent and Holy Week in the Western Hemisphere, second only to Seville, Spain. The custom of making carpets comes from the Old World, but the Mayans made carpets of pine needles, flowers, and feathers in pre-conquest times.

Four of us went to Antigua to build street carpets for the Holy Week processions. Joy Savage (leader), Susan Long, Claudette Dulas-Allen, and Ann McEldowney (of Austin, Texas) were the participants. The photos below were taken by Susan Long

We made the first carpet out of pine needles and corozo (the flowers from a palm). The second carpet was made of dyed sawdust. We did a three-candle design, entitled "May Peace Illuminate the World." Our mentor, Don Juan Jose, and his friends cut the stencils and did the work. The carpet took four and a half hours to make and was destroyed in minutes as the women's parade carried the Anda (a float with 16th century statues) over it.

Enjoy our photos: