They are carefully, delicately and, above all, devotionally arranged. That is the way the flower carpets are created in the town of Redondela, on the occasion of the celebration of the Corpus Christi, a worldwide-known event combining art and religious devotion. The countdown for this celebration has begun.
The celebration of Corpus Christi in the town of Ponteareas was declared of International Tourist Interest in 2009. The reasons are obvious. First-time visitors will have the opportunity to see for themselves that art is not always found at eye-level. This is the case of the highly acclaimed floral carpets that, year after year, decorate the pavement of this town in the province of Pontevedra.
Locals are the main promoters of an event that, since the middle of the 19th century, has been surprising not only first-time visitors but also those who repeat their visit to Ponteareas. In 1857, about twenty streets of the city were decorated with flower carpets.
Long hours of dedication have made this large flower carpets possible. Hundreds of thousands petals and flowers are used to create this ephemeral piece of art, beautifully created to welcome the image of the Most Blessed Sacrament, that marches through these colourful carpets. From Saturday to Sunday the work is intensified, and, at dawn, the carpets are ready. All corners of the town are filled with the fragrance and colour of these carpets.
The celebration of the Corpus Christi, originated in 1208, gradually spread all over the world. In Ponteareas this festivity has its own peculiarities. The procession stops at several places: the first halt is the main square of the town, which is beautifully covered by a large carpet. Then, there is a second stop at San Gregorio Street, a place that used to be decorated with a wooden cross covered by fennel. The Holy Sacrament advances at its own pace under a shower of petals threw from the balconies, which gives shape to one of the most unique moments of this celebration. Carpet-makers from other regions in Spain also participate in this event. One of the most fascinating examples is the work created by the renowned carpet-makers from the town of La Orotava, in the Canary Islands, who create a flower carpet using sand and soil from Teide.
The most striking arrangements can be found at the Bugallal Square, and at the streets of Oriente, Plaza Mayor, Os Ferreiros, Doctor Fernández de la Vega, Reveriano Soutullo, and also at the avenue of the Constitución. It should be noted that this tradition was originated in the streets of Abaixo and Real, and then it spread to other areas in the town.
The drawings that appear in these mosaics are mostly geometric forms with beautifully decorated borders, a design that has been used since the first decades of the 20th century.
The locals share the tasks to create the flower carpets, and they are assigned different areas or sections of the town. They pull the petals off the flowers that will be used, store and arrange the petals, prepare the layout and fill the drawings. The design of the drawings is the first stage in the preparation of the flower carpets, and it is executed several months in advance. Some weeks before the festival, green plants are collected and, later, also the flowers. On Saturday afternoon a sheet with a full-size drawing is placed on the pavement, and its different spaces are filled with these flowers.