The Incredible Flower and Sand Carpets of La Otorava

In the Spanish town of La Otorava, Tenerife, the festival of Corpus Christi Festival is celebrated by lining the streets with beautiful themed carpets made from flower petals and colored volcanic sand.

Featuring some of the most fragrant art displays in the world, the feast of Corpus Christi attracts thousands of visitors from all around the world, eager to see what the skilled alfombras (carpet makers) come up with every year. In the Canary islands, Corpus Christi has been celebrated for the last 300 years, but the first person to ever create a flower carpet is believed to be Leonor de Castillo Monteverde, who in 1847 decided it would be a good idea to decorate the road in front of her house with flower petals, for the procession to walk over. It measured only three square meters, but made a strong impact on the community, and eventually became a local tradition. In the 164 years since then , La Otrava flower and sand carpets have only been suspended twice, in 1891 and 1897.

The tradition of making large carpets with scented flower petals and volcanic sand from the foothills of Mount Teide has come a long way since its humble beginnings and the artworks are becoming more spectacular with each passing year. Several days before the celebration, local families and even design companies draw the carpets on paper, and on the big day, men and children draw the outline on the streets, while women fill the designs with various flower petals. All the locals get involved in this beautiful celebration and create a truly pleasant atmosphere.

The most impressive carpet in all of La Otorava is the one created in the town’s Plaza del Ayuntamiento, representing three biblical scenes. This special carpet is made entirely from colored volcanic sand, covers an area of 912 square meters, and the scenes it depicts are never repeated in the following years.

This year, the celebration took place on June 30. The flower and sand carpets of la Otorava have become so popular that the most talented alfombras travel all around the world, displaying their unique skills.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos of La Otorava carpets 2011 via Canarybird and Tenerife Magazine


   

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