The Colorful Cemeteries of Guatemala

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In Guatemala culture, afterlife is highly celebrated, and this cultural aspect is readily visible in their cemeteries. Scattered throughout the countryside of Guatemala are cemeteries that feature tombstones painted as colorfully as possible. Friends and family members paint them using the favorite color of the departed as a way of honoring and remembering the dead. Some of these cemeteries, especially those in the departments of Solóla, Chichicastenango and Xela (Quetzaltenango), have became tourist attractions.

During the All Saints Day on November 1, also celebrated as the Day of the Dead, the cemetery becomes the focal point for rituals and prayer for those who have passed on. The locals, dressed up in colorful clothing, head to the cemetery to spend the day cleaning and tending to the graves and decorating them with flowers, and have picnics right next to their departed family members. Another tradition is the construction of giant kites of vibrant colors that are flown near the cemetery. The locals believe that by flying kites with messages written on them they could communicate with the dead.

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Cemetery in Chichicastenango, Guatemala. Photo credit

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Cemetery in Chichicastenango, Guatemala. Photo credit

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Cemetery in Chichicastenango, Guatemala. Photo credit

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Cemetery in Chichicastenango, Guatemala. Photo credit

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Cemetery in Chichicastenango, Guatemala. Photo credit

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Cemetery in Chichicastenango, Guatemala. Photo credit

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Cemetery in Chichicastenango, Guatemala. Photo credit

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Cemetery in Chichicastenango, Guatemala. Photo credit

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Cemetery in Chichicastenango, Guatemala. Photo credit

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Cemetery in Solóla, Guatemala. Photo credit

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Cemetery in Xela, Guatemala. Photo credit

Sources: The Mixed Culture / Picture-Power / Honduras Real Expeditions via Curiosités de Titam

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