I had a few visitors over the past 10 days – it was fun to host good friends and family in Guatemala, to show them the places I love, introduce them to some of the people I love, and share a lot of great experiences. I’ll share a few pictures, but want to take a moment to explain my highlight – All Saints Day. On Day of The Dead (our Halloween), families remember their deceased loved ones by visiting their grave sites, leaving flowers, and often picnicking on the grave sites. While this seems bizarre for someone from US culture, it really is a beautiful celebration. People are not afraid of death. Day of the Dead represents a celebration of life past and life future.
Following Day of the Dead, Guatemalans (and many Latino cultures) celebrate All Saints Day. On All Saints Day, people fly kites as a symbol of those who’ve gone ahead toward heaven. The tales of the kites are supposed to ward off evil, and many people write notes to relatives and place them on the kite strings. The wind carries the note up toward the kite, representing the message being taken to heaven. While some people fly kites in their own streets, others head to local cemeteries. One celebration (at Sumpango), grew so large that it had to be moved from the cemetery to an open field.
We visited this site – complete with vendors, bleachers to watch the kites, and TONS of kites. I really enjoyed being a part of such a unique cultural experience, and being able to share that experience with visitors.
If this all sounds a bit strange to you….just ask a Guatemalan mom what she thinks about trick or treating!