We came to Antigua during one of the busiest times of the year, Semana Santa, to see the makings of the sawdust carpets. Antigua is THE place in Central America to experience the glory of Semana Santa.
Semana Santa is Easter Week and the whole town of Antigua enlivens with color, energy and celebration.
What is a Sawdust Carpet?
A sawdust carpet is made out of sawdust and during Semana Santa, people create these beautifully, decorative carpets that take long hours to make and then get walked over by the parade processions. They are made out of colored sawdust, flowers, fruits and vegetables. And they are stunning! We walked around the city with no other plans except to find beautiful carpets.
The Making of a Sawdust Carpet in Antigua
An area of the bumpy cobblestone street is leveled with a layer of plain sawdust. This creates a nice base for the decorative artwork. The base layer of color is put on and then the art begins.
There are no strict rules for making carpets: they can be as simple as laying down some pine needles, flowers and or fruit and vegetables on the cobble-stoned streets. Or as complex as preparing and richly coloring sawdust for weeks in advance and then spending hours carefully pouring, sifting and placing the sawdust into stencils.
For intricate carpets such as this one, the decorators usually start the night before or wee early in the morning.
The magnificent saw dust carpets are a feast for the eyes. It’s almost unfortunate that a procession walks right over them and they are quickly cleaned up after the procession by a clean up crew. Antigua…you are awesomely impressive.
More pictures of the Sawdust Carpets for Semana Santa