Posted: Thursday, April 1, 2021. 4:50 pm CST.
By Rubén Morales Iglesias: Holy Week is a big tradition in Benque Viejo del Carmen with Masses, processions and the reenactment of Jesus’ death on the Cross on Good Friday. Additionally, during the Good Friday procession people have developed the tradition of doing colourful sawdust carpets on the streets where the procession passes.
But none of that is possible though people have reportedly been attending Mass during this week.
Nalleli Yacab, Benque House of Culture (HOC)/NICH coordinator, said that since the traditional events cannot be held, they came up with the idea of having a sawdust tapestries exhibition as a tribute to life.
“Since we didn’t have any event last year, this time around we decided to do the Sawdust Tapestries Exhibition as a tribute to life through art, through sawdust, in the form of carpets as are done on the streets for Good Friday,” Yacab said. “We will do the sawdust carpets on the plaza around the tower at the Centennial Memorial Park. We will have 12 groups exhibiting according to a schedule.”
Groups of Benqueños have been mixing sawdust with 12 different colour dyes so they can use it to make the carpets. Yacab said Mayor Jorge Rosales has assisted them in getting material which includes the sawdust from the Wood Stop in Belmopan, vinegar, alcohol, salt, and gloves. Mayor Rosales was also instrumental in getting the permission to have the event and ensuring that they have police patrols in the area during the exhibition.
Yacab also said that they have had unconditional support from the National Institute of Culture and History, of which the Benque HOC is part.
Volunteers from Saint John Paul Junior College, Rotaract and friends of the Benque HOC have been mixing 20 of the 35 sawdust bags over the last few days for the 12 groups which will participate in the Sawdust Tapestries Exhibition. The remaining sawdust is used as a base.
Yacab says that due to the COVID-19 restrictions only 12 groups were allowed to make their carpets at the Centennial Memorial Park, but they are doing so in shifts starting at 5:30 a.m. Two groups at a time will make and exhibit their carpets. They will have up to two hours for their exhibition. The last group will start at about 3:00 p.m. The groups are only allowed up to ten people to be working on the exhibition.
Visitors who want to view the decorated carpets will have to do so following the COVID-19 guidelines.
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