Sand Carpets in Copan, Honduras
While on a family vacation in Copan, Honduras, we witnessed the “painting” of the Sand carpets. We arrived in town the night before Good Friday. The street was blocked off next to the central park and teams of people were drawing with colored sand or sawdust. We didn’t know what they were doing or why. From the looks of it, we guessed that there were different teams creating various images. Maybe it was a contest?
As you can see from the picture they have paper drawn out that they use to guide where to pour the sand. The street is layered in hay, then topped with brown sand, and finally drawn on with colored sand. Some people thought it was colored rice. I am not sure what they were using. It could have been rice or sand.
In the morning we quickly realized that this was a series of paintings, creating the story of Jesus’s last hours on earth and His resurrection. This is a tradition in Honduras to celebrate Semana Santa, or holy week leading up to Easter.
Here is the view from the balcony of our hotel. They had a ladder set up at the other end, but the line was long. Now I wish I had waited in line! The picture would have been worth it!
Late on Good Friday evening there was a procession that made its way through the streets led by a priest. Once they made it to the sand carpets, in the pouring rain, the procession stopped and there was a sermon, given from a megaphone. After the sermon and prayers were complete they proceeded to walk across the carpet.
Saturday, the next morning they began to sweep it all away. They used the sand as mulch around the trees in the park.
On Easter Sunday there was another procession through town. Here is a picture of them making their way down the street. This has to be about half of the town, since Copan is not that big.
Have you ever seen sand carpets? Where were you and what were they of?