Semana santa: petals, processions and purple

Easter is Semana Santa in Latin America: a complex festival and procession incorporating a riotous multitude of floral displays. In parts of Mexico and Guatemala, the festival starts with the construction of the  intricate carpet, or alfombra, from flowers, petals and dyed saw dust, using stencils.

There are two type of carpets made during Semana Santa: the religious and secular. In the churches, alfombras are made by the brotherhoods and surrounded by flowers, fruits, vegetables, and candles brought as offerings on the preceding day. Outside, people who live along the procession route invite friends and relatives to join them in covering the streets in front of their homes with carpets that express both religious as well as contemporary themes. Preparations for the carpets begin weeks, or even months, ahead. Sand or sawdust is generally used to level the cobblestone roadway. Sawdust is then collected and dyed. Pine needles and flowers such as bougainvillea, chrysanthemums, carnations, and roses are readied to be incorporated into the designs. Carpets are laid the day before the procession and the construction is timed so that the carpets are finished just before the arrival of the first floats.

The carpet is then kicked up by the religious procession, making the work that goes into it all the more amazing.

The use of purple petals and flowers is significant as its the liturgical colour for Lent.

Images from here.