Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter celebration

Yesterday was Pascua (Easter) and here are a bunch of pictures!

The colorful things you see on the ground are called alfombras (rugs), which constitute a pretty central Easter celebration for most communities here in Guatemala. After staking out a bit of road, families or community groups will place colored sawdust in various designs using cutout stencils. The following pictures are of a design I particularly liked (probably ‘cuz I want a Persian rug that looks just like this someday):

Looks pretty crisp, right? It’s almost like a real rug if you ask me – here’s a guy using the requisite stencil with its slight wooden frame.

Closeup, you can see how he’s smoothing out the sawdust into the cutout holes, which will leave the design on the foundation below – excess sawdust on the stencil gets simply picked up and removed at the end.

Once you've finished the design within a stencil, you gingerly pick up the frame, clean off the excess sawdust and then replace it on down the line. But when you think about how big these alfombras are – close to 10 feet wide and at least 30 feet long - you realize that you have to rig up a plank-and-cinder-block system with which to reach the middle sections.

Need I remind you that the sun was blazing when I took this picture, with temps of at least 75 degrees? The guy gets extra props for working under adverse conditions.

Anyway, I should note that these pictures were taken during the festivities leading up to Easter in a small town near Antigua on April 3rd – sorry it took me so long to post...I’ve been real busy!

Here’s a picture of me that same day, helping out with a different alfombra (this one was garnished with pine needles and vegetables!)

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