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Close up of sand painting June 18, 2009
Today is a day of festivities and religious celebrations in the villa of La Orotava. For weeks the annual carpets of sand have been in the planning, to be created in the town hall plaza over a period of days by uniquely talented artists who drizzle the natural coloured volcanic sands onto the ground to create images of great beauty.
This year the central image represents the year of Saint Paul and the laterals on either side represent the dignity of humanity, and especially that of women, represented by the two female images.
Town Hall Plaza Centre Image
Right side of carpet
Left side of carpet
Closeup Central Image
This evening they will be swept away after the solemn procession, celebrating the Christian Eucharist, moves from the church to the above city hall plaza, la Plaza del Ayuntamiento.
Preparing the petal carpets
I have not been there for the last two years so this morning I made sure I was up early and went to La Orotava, a few minutes drive from my home, just after 10 am, armed with two cameras and wearing good walking shoes. Orotava is very steep and one must walk partway up the hills since today the roads are blocked for the making of the carpets.
Thousands of roses
Since this morning there has also been excitement in the town as the alfombristas or carpet makers are working on the flower petal carpets which will fill the narrow cobblestone streets. They last for today only, as they will be walked on by the church procession this evening. I saw many boxes of fresh flower petals as well as these rosebuds stacked for use in forming flower carpets. Finely milled green heather is also used to form a green background and edging along with black volcanic sand for accents and edges.
Whole families take part in this event and small children learn from an early age how to take apart the petals and put them in place.
A bronze statue of an alfombrista, a flower carpet maker, kneels in the typical posture of those who work on the carpets. He is lovingly provided with fresh flowers and greenery throughout the year.
Here is a slideshow of the above and other images, which may be an easier way to view them in large screen size. All but the first image are from this morning, June 18, 2009. The first photo was taken in 2007.
I hope you will enjoy your visit to ....
The Carpets of La Orotava!