El dia de los santos (Nov. 1) and dia de los muertos (Nov. 2), All Saints Day and Day of the Dead, are one of our favorite holidays in Guatemala. In contrast to Halloween, celebrated during the same time in the US, Day of the Dead is one of the most important family holidays of the year in Guatemala and throughout Central America. It is a day of family gatherings in the cemetery to spend time with and remember departed loved ones. Often families will bring flowers and food, gathering around family tombs and graves. Kites are another important part of this day. Traditionally, it is believed that the kite creates a connection of communication between our loved ones’ spirits in the sky and us on earth. Throughout the Guatemala during this time of year, you’ll see children flying homemade kites in the mountains and fields.
The Revue Magazine, explains more below:
Here it is a time for families to gather together and go to the cemeteries where they paint and clean up the graves of family members, honor their ancestors with flowers, candles and prayers, burn incense and bring picnics to share. On these days, especially November 1, the cemeteries are full of life and celebration, and food and flower vendors set up shop outside the cemetery gates. For some, especially those who have family members who have died in the last year, it can be quite a solemn occasion—a time not only to celebrate that person but also to tell stories of their life and to mourn.
A trip to any market at this time of year will find it filled with flowers, especially the orange marigolds or sempa that are the most popular gifts for the dead. Many markets, such as the one in La Antigua, will also be filled with kites for sale, as the flying of kites is used as a means of communicating with the dead and showing them where to come down to visit their family members…. read more on their site
In honor of this important time of year, we give thanks for the lives of all our ancestors who have gone before us!