A big part of the festivities surrounding the processions in Antigua are the building of alfombras (carpets) in the streets along the procession routes. The alfombras are beautiful and very labor intensive, with people devoting many hours to their construction.
A base layer of sand is applied to the cobblestone streets, followed by a layer of pine needles. At this point, some of the alfombras will then be constructed with additional plants, flowers and fruits, while others will use colored sawdust and stencils to create intricate patterns and designs. I am most fond of the alfombras made with sawdust, but they are all beautiful sights to behold.
Since a procession can take anywhere from 12 to 18 hours, visitors will find the alfombras in various states of construction depending on where they are located on the procession route. When we arrived on Sunday, we headed in the direction of the procession and found mostly completed alfombras. After the procession we saw others underway at various other points along the planned procession route and many other streets still bare, since the procession was not going to arrive for hours and hours.
The alfombras were definitely one of my favorite parts of the experience.