Short-lived art

by Francisco Méndez

The hunters and the hunted (Issue II/2021)


Even the pattern of this magnificent Easter carpet will no longer be recognisable after a few hours. Photo: Getty Images

In the Guatemalan city of Antigua, Easter is a time of intense colours, fragrance and religious fervour. The processions along the “alfombras”, or carpets, are the highlight of the celebrations: The inhabitants of each district create “carpets" of coloured sawdust, often spanning more than a hundred metres. These are decorated with flowers, pine needles and fruit.

Neighbourhoods’ streets all boast a unique short-lived design, often with Catholic and also indigenous motifs. After the Easter mass, robed believers carry a statue of Jesus through the neighbourhoods. In the process, the beautiful carpets are almost completely destroyed. The tradition, which attracts millions of people every year, has been around since 1543.

Transcribed by Jess Smee

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