Hello, All! And Happy Easter!!
Easter (as with just about all things) is done a bit differently here in Honduras than what ya'll are doing up North.
First off, it's not one day. It's a whole week.
Secondly, there are no bunnies or baskets or eggs involved.
(And you should have seen my housekeeper's face when I tried to explain the U.S. Easter Traditions. If you really stop to think about it, the whole thing sounds like complete lunacy!)
It took me a little while to grasp the enormity of how the holiday is celebrated down here. The week is known as "Semana Santa," or literally "Holy Week." What we, in The States, refer to as "Spring Break" is simply "Semana Santa" around here. In The States nowadays, we think of Spring Break and Easter as two different things. The kids' one week off from school could be a month before or after the actual Easter holiday. And the grown-ups don't get any time off whatsoever.
Not so here! ALL of the schools have Semana Santa off and grown-ups receive at least the Thursday and Friday before Easter off of work, if not the entire week. Here in Honduras, Semana Santa is a National Holiday.
Now, that doesn't mean the Hondurans are sitting around in church all week. Quite the contrary, many families choose to vacation at the shores. But many do stay in town. And a Semana Santa tradition - not just in Honduras, but all of Central America - are Las Alfombras.
The Carpets are ornate designs created using colored sawdust, done right in the middle of a closed-off street.
Most of the artisans begin work on Thursday, but this group did not start until Friday morning, a few hours before our visit.
The colorful sawdust resides in those gigantic white bags you can see lined up to the left of the above photo. You can also see the workers carefully placing handfuls of sawdust inside the chalked outline of what their masterpiece will become. The man with the sprayer? He's got nothing but water in there. The water helps hold the sawdust in place.
And that spraying must be continued throughout the day if there is any hope of keeping a sawdust-crafted work of art from blowing away in the breeze before The Big Day. Of course, there are other natural enemies lurking about....
....like stray dogs! This poor fella was being yelled at and canoodled from both sides of the street. So where did he feel safest? Right in the middle!
(Dogs have a right to observe the art, too, dontcha think?)
The images created on the carpets range from colorful floral designs to deeply religious depictions.
Anyone need a lil' Jesus?
The detail of this work is truly incredible. Even more amazing in person!
These carpets, a riot of color, stretch for almost a half-mile on Avenida Miguel Cervantes - reaching up to the Catedral de Tegucigalpa. In the days leading up to the Easter morning services (on either Saturday or Sunday, I never found out for sure) a religious procession will occur. Something akin to a parade, with people lining the streets to watch as effigies of various holy figures set atop enormous rolling tables will be pushed across the half-mile of vivid carpets and up to the doors of the Cathedral.
I do not contain the vocabulary to accurately convey what one of these "floats" looks like, so, thankfully, I managed to snap a picture of one!
This float depicts Jesus carrying the cross. He was a bit more jovial than I would have imagined he'd be!
Not so for his poor mother, Mary. Her effigy appeared on a smaller float soon after, looking like a cross between a Spanish widow and a vampire from Twilight. Nothing says "Happy Easter" quite like a gray-complected Mary!
But rather than show you a picture of that (Which I was too horrified to take, by the way. Sorry!) I'd much prefer to show you a few more glorious carpets.
I am sorry for the photos in this post. They just do not convey the thrill and majesty of these incredible pieces of art. Optimally, I would have hung from a crane slowly moving down the center of the street and snapped photos of every vibrant work.
But Hubs said no.
(He's such a downer, right?!?)
And I could spend another 500-1000 words waxing on about how, much like these carpets, every experience of our lives adds another colorful hue of sawdust to a carpet that we will spend the entirety of our lifetimes crafting, that, in our later years, will finally be seen for the incredible masterpiece the sum of a life is, but only for a brief moment before it is set alight on the breezes and returned to the earth.
But, you know, it's Easter, and I know ya'll have better things to do!