Saturday, April 23, 2011

Aflombras en Comayagua

Kristen says...

Happy Passover (last Thursday)
Happy Easter (tomorrow!)

Hope you are all enjoying Holy Week (or ignoring it, whatever your preference is...)

I am definitely enjoying having some time off...although I'm trying not to let my mind go to mush so I'm not a worthless teacher for the last month of school...I did that during our last long weekend, and I really felt it took me WAY too long to get back in the groove...

Anyway, yesterday we went to see one of the most famous Semana Santa (Holy Week) traditions in Honduras...the alfombras in Comayagua.

Now, these are not the rugs you would have in your house (quite the opposite, actually...these are WAY too messy...)

I actually had my 6th graders re-create these WAY back in September during our school's celebration of Dia de la Independencia (see the two little carpets right in front of the Cathedral?) but those were absolutely NOTHING like what we saw yesterday.

Comayagua is about an hour away from Teguc, but to get there means going through quite a bit of road construction (part of the expansion project for the Pan-American Highway...once it's done it will be really nice, but for now it's a big pain in the rear) on a heavily-trafficked road. Thanks to Hannah (her blog can be found here (and incidentally, has the cutest picture EVER of a baby with a passport) we didn't leave at 10:00 like we had originally planned, we left the city just a little after 6:00 AM.

Luckily we went with people who have people, and we had a driver. No parking hassle, no miles on the is good! (At one point the speed limit sign said 30 km/hr...I checked and the driver was going 130...needless to say we made good time).

PLUS, it's Semana Santa, which means no traffic!!! At all other times of the year driving in Teguc is like a constant game of bumper cars, but during Semana Santa the city is deserted and it's a great time to drive!

Anyway, we made it to Comayagua a little after 7, which was nice because we beat a lot of other people and we go to see the carpets as they were being made and before they were roped off...very up-close and personal.
Oh, did I mention the carpets were made out of (for the most part) wood shavings?!

Yep, the carpets were made out of colored pieces of sawdust, salt, and other ingredients from nature like pinecones, nuts, and larger woodshavings...they were all kinds of colors, ranging from the jewel tones above to neons (you'll see below.)

Some of them were purely religious and had images of Jesus, Mary, etc on them, and others honored people who had died, civic organizations, or even corporate sponsors. Most were "flat" but a few were 3-D.

The patterns were made using tools like cardboard stencils and butter knives, and everything was kept from flying away by squirted water.

Take a gander at some of the various carpets we saw below (and remember, if you want to see them larger all you have to do is click on the picture):

(There were very conveniently placed stepladders near many of the carpets that let us get some whole-carpet shots.)

The whole point of the carpet-making process (which for at least one carpet was over 10 hours of work by a team of at least 8 people) was to provide cover for the ground on which the procession would walk.

Now, I am not a Catholic, nor do I speak Spanish, so I can't honestly explain exactly what the procession was for...but I'm sure you can look it up. From what I saw, it was a group of people dressed up and carrying what looked to me like parade floats that had various religious persons portrayed (by mannequins) on top of them.

Here's a video Chris shot of the beginning of the procession, and some pictures I took a bit later...

Of course, after all that, the carpets looked a little different...


(notice the big paper sketch underneath...kind of cool!)

Lots of little kids were collecting the sawdust...not sure what for...but I kind of wish we'd kept some!

Of course, a trip to Comayagua is nothing without visiting the BEAUTIFUL colonial churches... we actually got to go up in one of them, and see how the old clock made the bells ring, which was really neat.

Here, I'm sure you are surprised, are some pictures:

<- Notice how the outline of the church is reflected on the concrete in front...

I have many more (I'm sure you're not surprised!) which I will have Chris upload to Flikr at some point in the near future...

Happy Easter!


  1. At least in this part of Honduras there are usually at least three processions on Good Friday. The first is in the morning or about noon - the Via Crucis, the Stations of the Cross, 14 events between the condemnation of Jesus by Pilate and Jesus being laid in the tomb. The second about 3 pm or after the afternoon liturgical event is the Santo Entierro, the burial of Jesus, which features a glass catafalque with an image of the dead Jesus. The night procession is the procession of Soledad, Solitude, usually featuring women and commemorating Mary's solitude after the crucifixion.
    Though I've not been to the Comayagua processions my guess is that it was the Via Crucis. I have several description of the Santa Rosa diocesan stations on mu blog which are on the Friday before Palm Sunday. They don't have alfombra, but I have a list of the stations.
    You can also see the simpler alfombras I helped with here on Palm Sunday in anotehr blog entry.

  2. These pictures have such vivid colors! Nicely arranged too! Makes me want to visit Honduras :-)

  3. Great pictures, Kristen! That must have been cool to see all of that!

    Love you!



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