The first of November in Guatemala is celebrated as the day of the dead. On this day, Guatemalans typically gather around their lost loved ones graves, covering them with bright decorations and feasting on barbeques. The streets around the Sumpango cemetery is crowded with people from all over the country, feasting on an incredibly wide range of street food including ceviche and grilled corn.
The major attraction of the day however is the huge kites. It is a three-thousand-year-old custom developed from a mixture of local religious practices and Christianity. Local residents dress up in traditional bright-colored clothing and go to the graveyards to fly kites in the hope that they can communicate with the departed.
The kites are constructed out of bamboo, cloth, paper and wire, and are amazingly durable even in strong winds. These kites are designed in a circular shape and usually with a religious or folkloric theme. They are also gigantic – some 24 to 30 meters across. There is also a prize for the best design.
Photos: Santiago Billy
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