Guatemala celebrates two special holidays together.
November 1st is All Saints’ Day while November 2nd is Day of the Dead. These two days are combined to create a festive and colorful atmosphere within Guatemala.
The Meaning of All Saints’ Day
Many cultures have a negative connotation towards death and all things related to it. While they do still mourn, many latin american cultures see death in a more positive way and celebrate it. They remain respectful of the dead while still celebrating the lives that they once had.
How Guatemala Celebrates All Saints’ Day
Death is an important aspect of Latin culture, and so Guatemalans spend these two days visiting the graves of loved ones and cleaning them up. They also tend to leave flowers and pictures to pay their respects. Some even have picnics next to the graves to create the feeling that their loved ones are still there with them. The rest of the two days is filled with music and vendors selling their products on the streets.
How the Maya Celebrate All Saints’ Day
The indigenous Maya towns of Sumpango and Santiago Sacatepéquez are well-known for the elaborate kites they fly during these holidays. These stunning creations take about 40 days to complete. Bamboo is used to create the frames and a glue-like mixture is created using native ingredients, including lemon peel, water, and yucca flower. These kites can go past 40 feet in diameter and are painted colorfully. The kites used to be used as an attempt to communicate with the dead. Now, they are decorated to display peace and harmony among the living.