During Semana Santa, the scent of wet sawdust and pine permeates the air in Guatemala. Before Easter, the streets are decorated with elaborate, colorful alfombras de aserrín – made of sawdust, flowers, palm leaves, and other organic matter – that feature religious and cultural figures. The tradition, which combines Indigenous rituals and Christianity, dates back about 400 years. It’s not unique to Guatemala – they’re present in neighboring countries El Salvador and Honduras, as well as in places like Corpus Christi in the United States – but the Central American country’s carpets have become notable.

The carpets are a time-consuming process that involves stencils and lots of patience. No two carpets are alike, since each creator embeds the alfombras with their own message.

Below, check out several beautiful alfombras created in Guatemala.

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BESPOKE: You haven’t experienced Semana Santa, Holy Week, in Guatemala, until you’ve seen it in person. It’s one of the most beautiful artistic and creative expressions of a religious weekend in the Catholic Faith in the world. It’s a mix of the spiritual and mystical. Until then, enjoy photos my family has sent me and a few off Instagram of the alfombras and processionals. Other countries have started to to make it a tourist spectacle, but Guatemala is the original goat that brings people from all over the world of various religions to see the Alfombras for decades . . . . . . These special alfombras, the Spanish word for “rugs/carpets,” are elaborate street decorations made of colored sawdust, flowers or flower petals, pine needles, sand, rice, or even fruits or vegetables. … Holy Week, known in Spanish as “Semana Santa,” is the week preceding Easter. . . . Repost from: @amor_a_guatemala @guatetreasures . . . . #semamasanta #holyweek #easter #guatemalanartist #guatemalanartistry #guatemalaholyweek #semanasantaenguatemala #semanasantaguatemala #alfombras #sawdustart #flowerart #fruitart #sawdustartists

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