Saturday, November 1, 2014

Day of the Dead in My Adoptive Country - Guatemala

This weekend is a huge holiday in Guatemala full of cultural traditions that I've grown used to. However, I've never shared what Guatemalans do on Day of the Dead and All Saints Day. So, today, I will take a turn from sharing romances and show you the beauties of my adopted country. 

November 1st marks the beginning of the celebrations. These celebrations are in honor of those who have passed on. Rather than a melancholy time, it is a time of happiness and celebration. The biggest celebration is the Kite Festival in Sumpango, Guatemala. 

At the Kite Festival, visitors will find enormous kites made of tissue paper with elaborate designs. It is said that the kites are a way of communicating with the dead. In some of the smaller villages, it is traidition to take 40 days to build the giant kite. Unmarried men trek to the woods to find bamboo for the kite frames. The other parts of the kite are usually made with natural materials -- flowers, plants, woven cloth. Nowadays, you will see the kites are made with bright tissue paper. 

On November 1, thousands flock to the Sumpango cemetary where they fly the kites, have picnics on their family's graves and decorate the graves with flowers. It is quite the event!

Another tradition is the cultural dish called FIAMBRE. It is a vegetable salad mixed with a vinaigrette. Even after all these years, I haven't acquired the taste for it. However, many still love it.
There is also Pan de Muerto which is easier on the tongue. 

What types of events or traditions do you have on the Day of the Dead? 


  1. That's so interesting, about the fiambre; in Portuguese, that word means "ham!" :-)