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Festival de Barriletes Gigantes or Day of the Dead Kite Festival 2018

Giant flamboyant hand-made kites embody the millennia-old tradition of communicating with the dead

Festival de Barriletes Gigantes or Day of the Dead Kite Festival in Guatemala - Best Time
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© Rolando Estrada

The first days of November are marked with the most colourful and delicious festivities observed in Guatemala. The residents of Sumpango and Santiago Sacatepéquez gather around the main cemetery of the country to honour the dead through flowing giant kites made of paper, cloth patches, and bamboo frames. Similar displays can be observed in Comalapa.

Festival de Barriletes Gigantes or Day of the Dead Kite Festival in Guatemala - Best Season

This tradition is believed to be over 3,000 years old, since long ago indigenous people regarded kites as tools to communicate with ancestors that had passed away. The construction of such kites takes 40 days. The vibrant kites explain why the festival is the most colourful, but foodies must be already impatient concerning the word "delicious"—for you the festival presents the only occasion all year to sample the iconic Guatemalan dish Fiambre made of around 50 ingredients. Certain regions of the country have their own elements of celebration. For example, Todos Santos Cuchumatán is renowned for wild horse races and its wide variety of spirits consumed during the festival.​

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