detalle de la alfombra de arena del Corpus Cristi

Corpus Christi carpet

A tradition in La Orotava on Tenerife

  • A century of history in La Orotava
  • Volunteer dedication
  • Coloured sand for its realisation
  • Always with natural elements

1919-2019: years of tradition

Felipe Machado y Benitez de Lugo was the first director and started making carpets 100 years ago in the plaza of the City Council of La Orotava. This year 2019, his work, which has led him to present 11 carpets in that square, is valued.

The grotesque style ofJean Berainhas been a major influence in the design.

The work is done by more than 20 people. Most of them are volunteersand they dedicate a lot of time to the work. The people of La Orotava have been supporting them (called "alfombristas") for a century and they also have their own school.

Natural material for its composition

From the beginning, natural material has been the base every year for the realisation of the carpet. It has been necessary an adaptation to unexpected events in order to have a work that the people can enjoy.

Birds were eating the grains and they also germinated with moisture.

They used heather, flowers, seeds and grains (rice, chickpeas, beans or lentils) that were placed last to avoid problems.

From vegetable to mineral

Nowadays, they use sand of volcanic stones, collected in several points of the municipality (from sea level to the height), mainly in theTeide National Park but not everything.

The mineral is collected by hand accompanied by Rangers.

They only collect in places determined by the management plan of the National Park. Remains of mineral material that has been removed by the workers of the National Park (for road cleaning for example) are also re-used. The rocks offer 7 natural colours that allow to take out 21 different tones.

And the waste?

When finishing and cleaning what was left after the procession, the sand is placed in a unique collection site
to use it again in a few years. Further the students of the carpets' school use it to learn your work.

2019: God's Word through time

detail of the carpet with Saint Francis of Assisi
The look of Saint Francis of Assisi

The tradition is written in the Catholic religious culture. This year 2019 is the fifth centenary of the arrival of the Franciscan monks in La Orotava. That's why Saint Francis of Assisi appears on the carpet.

People who listen to Jesus are turning their backs on the harsh reality.

In this year's image, we also see Jesus speaking to the people and looking at a disadvantaged child asking for help when all people, with the exception of Saint Francis of Assisi, turn their backs on the child.

For more details follow the link to the excellent page of ARTEARENA

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