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Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Flower Carpet Night in the Huamantla Annual Festival

Each year the village of Huamantla holds a festival in August which is attended by thousands of locals and visitors alike. We attended the opening earlier this month where we served atole hot drinks and pan de dulce sweet bread to people after the opening mass and saw the donkey races in the street the following day.

Last weekend we returned to Huamantla for the night when most of the streets in the centre of town are closed so beautiful floral carpets made of coloured saw dust decorate the streets. In addition the walls of the buildings lining the street are decorated with flowers and banners and streamers are strung across the street to create a beautiful, transformed street. The shop owners in each street work together to pay for and construct these amazing floral displays. They start decorating their street in the afternoon in order for them to be completed by midnight. Throughout the evening people wander along the streets appreciating the creations.

In addition to the carpets, all the shops are open and street stalls are set up selling lots of different types of food, Mexican textiles, pottery and a myriad of other curios so people can shop and eat all night. 

Outside the cathedral each day during the festival a new carpet made of flowers, fruit and the coloured saw dust is constructed. On this night the cathedral is filled with more new floral arrangements and a special mass is held at 11pm, in time for people to see the carpets being finished at midnight after the  service.

If you don't feel like eating, shopping, strolling by the carpets or going to mass, there is also a side show alley with plenty of rides and of course the Corona and Sol stands competing with one another to sell the most beer.

Sadly, this year there was a downpour just before midnight and all the carpets in the streets were washed away. I thought that would be the end of the evening, but no. Once the rain stopped at about midnight, bands started playing in the streets for people to listen and dance to and the debris from the old carpets swept away so new carpets could be made.

We had an early night and finished dancing about 2am before walking home.

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