I took this photo at the Sumpango kite festival on All Saints Day. The contrast of colors, the artistry of the kite, and the deep blue sky are all beautiful on their own, but to me the tradition surrounding these enormous kites is absolutely beautiful. The kites represent a connection with ancestors who have passed away Families build kites together and fly them in their yards, or communities come together to build these massive kites. People write notes on the kite strings, and the wind takes the notes up toward the heavens, symbolically carrying messages to loved ones.
We could delve into the theology of this tradition, but I prefer to take it for what it is – a beautiful way to display love and to remember. I wish that US culture wasn’t so afraid of death, and I think Guatemalans’ attitudes toward death, and those who’ve passed away is beautiful.