Corpus Christi, the Catholic celebration of the Eucharist, is marked in Lanzarote by the creation of intricate and brightly coloured alfombras de sal or salt carpets.
Sea salt dyed in bright colours is used in huge quantities to make the carpets. The carpets depict events or organisations or simply local views. They are laid in the plazas near to the church and are walked over, and ultimately destroyed, by the Sunday Corpus Christi procession.
In Teguise, the old capital of Lanzarote, best known for its Sunday market, they made the carpets yesterday, Wednesday, in Plaza de Santo Domingo. We went after reading about them in Jules’ blog and were glad we did. The designs were all different and we saw all age groups and abilities taking part. The local children have a roller skating club and they created a carpet showing a skate. An older man, definitely an artist, created a landscape with views of volcanoes and lava fields. They reminded us of the painstaking work that goes in to the well dressing celebrations in Derbyshire.
We were surprised to find we were some of the only visitors there and even the owner of a bar just across the square didn’t know the carpets were being created. The local children were celebrating their Fiesta de Verano (Summer Festival) to mark the end of term with lots of loud music and laughter, creating a lovely atmosphere. We finished our evening with a welcome drink in a lovely bar and enjoyed the cooler temperature after a record breaking day when the thermometer reached 42 degrees. It was still 33 degrees on our drive home at 21.00.
There are further carpets this week, on Saturday morning in San Bartolome and in the afternoon in Arrecife. On Sunday morning in Haria you need an early start as they begin at 8,00 am! We thoroughly recommend a visit. There were worries that the high cost of salt might put an end to the tradition as it’s said the cost to the Ayuntamiento could be as much as 10,000 euros. Let’s hope they keep this lovely tradition, enjoyed by the whole community, going for some time.
Salt Carpets in Lanzarote 2011
La Villa de Teguise
Heat Alert June 2011