Design of 2018 alfombra. Photo: La Orotava Ayuntamiento.
I’m always asked well in advance about the Corpus Christi carpets in La Orotava, so for those who want to make plans to see La Orotava’s Corpus Christi carpets this year, 2017’s display will be on Thursday 7 June. The making of the famous alfombras form part of La Orotava’s fiestas patronales, the whole celebration being in honour of Corpus Christi, San Isidro Labrador and Santa María de La Cabeza, and the day of the carpets is one of La Orotava’s two municipal public holidays. The actual festival, however, lasts from 15 May to 10 June, the last day of which will be the day of the town’s spectacular main romeria on 10 June.
The carpets are world famous, and have held the Guinness World Record for the largest ephemeral carpet display in the world since 2006. Every year there is something different and spectacular, with the designs made into carpets with coloured earth from the Teide National Park by around 20 artisans from the specialist group Artearena (sand art). The following video will give an idea of what to expect.
This year, work on creating the carpet will start on Monday 9 April and last untl 6 June, the eve of the Infraoctava del Corpus. The design (below) has been unveiled, and as so often in recent years makes a strong social comment. The council says that it is perhaps the design with the hardest social message in the event’s 171 year history, based on obvious and direct references to the world’s refugee and immigration crises, and violence against women. This is meaningful on so many levels it is easy to understand how the event continues to attract so many visitors, and how it continues to move them.