The first and only time I went sky diving, my Dad was my partner in crime. He planted the seed of interest when I was a little girl telling me stories of how he had always wanted to try the sport. My imagination would whirl wondering how amazing it would be to tumble through the sky feeling completely weightless. I envisioned this type of adventure to be the perfect daddy-daughter activity, for a couple of dare-devils like us. Continue reading
Antigua Cultural and Karina’s Extraordinary Life have teamed up to bring you a new series called Preserving Culture. Preserving Culture will feature short films on cultural aspects of Antigua, Guatemala seen from a new perspective.
Join Antigua Cultural and Karina’s Extraordinary Life as we take you to Antigua, Guatemala to get a new perspective at Guatemala’s alfombra (carpet) building Easter tradition in the first educational segment of Preserving Culture. We speak with local school children during Semana Santa who teach us all about what it means to build one of these traditional works of art. — Alex Jones Continue reading
The idea behind embarking on this journey around the world had always been that the world is full opportunity. To find it though, we must be completely open to it. I don’t mean searching through a job site. I mean doing what you are passionate about. For April and I, it is travelling, writing, filming, learning and experiencing local culture. Since our arrival in Antigua, Guatemala we have found so much support for our work featuring local places, people and events. We’ve already had our articles shared on huge social media platforms, been on television and networked with amazing people who respect and admire our choice to put our faith in the universe. Most recently, April and I were invited to partake in a collaborative project creating a traditional alfombra with local school children from Escuela Luis Mena. The project, a yearly tradition sponsored by George’s Travel Club, is intended to educate and encourage participation of children. It also gave us an opportunity to learn a new perspective on the activity, normally a labour of devotion, gratitude and penitence. (More on the cultural understanding of alfombras here.) We teamed up with talented videographer Alex Jones for a new channel called Antigua Cultural. The mini-documentary will feature a complete birth to death time-lapse video of this temporary work of art by the children, through the moment where the single anda Santa Ines procession carries Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary over the alfombra offering. We also had the opportunity to interview the children and their teacher, Alejandro, about the meaning of their project and get first-hand insight into how their young minds attribute significance to this beautiful tradition.
I’m overwhelmed with excitement. Semana Santa (Holy Week), the most important week of the Catholic calendar, is nearly upon us. And I am in the place where it is celebrated with more colour, more vigour, more tradition and more sacrifice than any other! I want to take a moment to share (and brag a little) about Antigua, Guatemala. This is where April and I are living out our dream, exploring, networking, learning Español, and witnessing the magnificent displays of pure faith by devout Catholics and penitents for an entire month leading up to Easter.
Antigua is the former capital of Guatemala, and was once the unrivalled mecca of the Kingdom of Guatemala! Destroyed multiple times by massive earthquakes, the city was eventually abandoned.
This small valley city at the base of 3 towering volcanoes is now reborn as a premier tourism destination and UNESCO World Heritage Site where you can walk through the ruins of history. Literally.
Perhaps you need a little colonial heart, by Guatemalan artist Ricky López Bruni, is a dramatic introduction to the heart of Antigua. This short film, from the series Perhaps you need a little Guatemala (on Facebook #Perhaps you need a little Guatemala). Both are worth checking out. Continue reading
The first article in the series devoted to the Lent celebrations of Antigua, Guatemala introduced the Velaciones, honouring the Catholic icons within their church home.
This week, I explored the concept of the alfombras or carpets created before each procession. These elaborate but temporary works of art are some of the most beautiful displays that can be observed colonial Antigua and the surrounding towns on a weekly basis throughout the 6 weeks of Lent.
I took to the streets to learn how the long-lasting tradition began and why it continues to be important for local people.
What are alfombras?
Alfombras are large hand-made carpets normally created out of brightly coloured sawdust, flowers and vegetation.
When are alfombras the created?
Alfombras are expressly created prior to the arrival of a procession. Depending on the hour the procession will pass, people may spend an entire sleepless night preparing the alfombra.
The bearers of the procession’s andas (the massive display platforms) will then carry the image of Christ and the Virgin Mary over the alfombra, completely destroying it.