Kite Festival in Guatemala

Published November 4, 2006 by John

If there is one thing that festivals in Guatemala don’t lack, it’s color. I’ve seen pictures of Semana Santa in Antigua, where people make elaborate sawdust and flower carpets for processions during Holy Week.

Now I’ve just seen a reference to an annual kite festival held in Santiago, Sacatapequez on Day of the Dead (November 1). These are not “kites” like you picture flying in your neighborhood park, but rather huge creations of color and movement that take over the sky. With Halloween reduced to a candy sale in the States, it’s a change to see a celebration where the meaning of this time of year has a bit more depth.

While Day of the Dead seems to be pretty consistently celebrated as a time of remembrance for those who have gone before, with offerings and ceremony, nobody seems to be quite sure exactly what the kites are for, and I don’t know that it really matters. Some say they are ways of communicating with the spirits, others that they are for lifting the souls back to the heavens, or are frightening way bad spirits. Whatever the reason, kites have a draw something like that of a fire, begging to be watched as a they dance around in the wind. I can only imagine the powerful spectacle of this celebration.

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