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Flower Carpets Antigua Guatemala

22/09/2020 by James Long

Flower carpets in Antigua Guatemala are an Easter tradition that we knew about before we arrived. We didn’t know that we’d be seeing them every Sunday during Lent, in the run up to Easter and throughout Holy Week. If you can possibly be in Guatemala at the right time, seeing these flower carpets and Easter processions should be on your travel bucket list.

The process of making the sawdust carpets or flower carpets was fascinating to watch. We had a front row seat as locals painstakingly created these works of art then later watched as the traditional Holy Week processions passed by obliterating them.

Flower carpets in Antigua Guatemala
The sawdust carpet, studded with flowers, before the parade after a morning of work. After the Holy Week parade passes, they are gone.

Below is the first carpet we saw, in one of Antigua’s cathedrals.

I’d heard of flower carpets but I couldn’t work out what this one was made of. Google told me that it’s coloured sawdust. Further Googling told me that the flower carpets or sawdust carpets in Antigua are a custom brought over from Spain and that the art form is still alive in Europe.

That’s something we need to look into. Have you come across these in Spain?

Sawdust carpet in Antigua Guatemala
Sawdust carpet in one of the cathedrals in Antigua Guatemala

How Are The Flower and Sawdust Carpets in Antigua Made?

Most of the sawdust carpets are laid on the cobbled streets of the old town so a thick layer needs to be laid to level out the canvas.

The geometric patterns are created using planks as borders and the intricate patterns are applied over the top by resting ladders across the construction and using stencils.

Making sawdust carpets in Antigua Guatemala
Making sawdust carpets in Antigua Guatemala
Stencil used in making sawdust carpets in Antigua Guatemala
Stencil used in making sawdust carpets in Antigua Guatemala
creating Sawdust Carpets in Antigua Guatemala.Holy Week
Creating Sawdust Carpets in Guatemala’s Holy Week

Some of the carpets are just sawdust, some are sawdust with a few flowers, sticks or seed pods, some are entirely made of grasses, whole flowers and petals like these below.

Flower and Sawdust carpet, Easter traditions, Guatemala
Flower and Sawdust carpet, Easter traditions, Guatemala
Flower and Sawdust carpet Antigua Guatemala
Flower and Sawdust carpet Antigua Guatemala

The Antiguan heat and wind would quickly dry them out and the art would blow away unless team members continuously damp them down. Some use high-tech water sprayers, some splash by hand.

Could you save this to your bucket list on Pinterest?

Antigua Guatemala flower carpets

The teams were working on these creations all morning. Once the procession came they were gone in an instant,  to be recreated in time for the procession to return, well after dark, many hours later.

It’s a labour of love and an incredible art display that will stay with us forever.

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