Corpus Christi in Mazo

Corpus Christi archway in Mazo, decorated with petals, leaves and seeds
Corpus Christi archway in Mazo

Mazo in La Palma is one of the best places to see Corpus Christi. Of course, Catholics all over the world celebrate the fiesta, but in Mazo they make the most wonderful archways and carpets decorated with petals, leaves and seeds.

Piano shaped Corpus Christi archway
Piano archway

The main feast day is ten weeks after Maundy Thursday, so this year it was on the 11th of June. If you’re impressed enough to book a holiday to see next year’s Corpus Christi, it’ll be on June 7th.

2016 26 May
2017 15 June
2018 31 May
2019 20 June
2020 11 June
Corpus Christi Altar decorated with petals, leaves and seeds, Mazo, La Palma
Corpus Christi Altar decorated with petals, leaves and seeds

Each village of the municipality makes an archway with a carpet and a little altar. People collect the materials and work on intensively the pieces a couple of weeks in advance. Then the archways go up overnight from Wednesday to Thursday, and stay up until Sunday. The carpets beneath the archways are made using things rather like wrought iron gates, as stencils. They lay the “gate” down on the sand, fill the sections with petals or whatever, squirt with water-with-a-bit-of-glue-in-it, and lift the gate up again.

Making flower carpets for Corpus Christi in Mazo
Making the carpet

It’s difficult to overstate the work that goes into this.  For example, how long do you think it would take you to do make of these?

Detail of Corpus Christi archway, Mazo, La Palma, Canary Islands
Detail of Corpus Christi archway, Mazo, La Palma

And there are 25 of these rosettes across the base of the archway.

Basel of Corpus Christi archway, Mazo, La Palma, Canary Islands
Base of Corpus Christi archway, Mazo, La Palma

And the whole thing is maybe 10 metres (33 ft) high.

Archway decorated with leaves, petals and seeds for Corpus Christi in Mazo, La Palma, Canary Islands
Archway decorated with leaves, petals and seeds for Corpus Christi

During a normal Catholic mass, the host is put into a special vessel called a monstrance. On Sunday they’ll hold a special mass in the church followed by a procession around the archways.

Corpus Christi Procession, Mazo, La Palma
the Corpus Christi Procession

The priest walks on the carpets holding the blessed wafers in their special container (called a monstrance) while everyone else walks at the sides. As he comes to each archway, he puts the monstrance on the little altar, kneels and wafts incense around.

Corpus Christi altar being blessed, Mazo, La Palma
Corpus Christi altar being blessed

The church of San Blas, at the bottom of the hill, gets decorated too. It’s a rather unusual church in that it has three naves.

Exterior of the Church of San Blas, Mazo, La Palma
Church of San Blas

And the flowers inside are wonderful. If you get there, check out the ceiling over the altar, too.

Interior of the church of San Blas, Mazo, La Palma, decorated for Corpus Christi.
Interior of the church of San Blas, decorated for Corpus Christi

If you miss this, you can see some examples from previous years in the Red House Museum.

Corpus Christi archway, Mazo, La Palma, Canary Islands
Corpus Christi archway, Mazo, La Palma

 

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