There was no trick-or-treating for us this year (Halloween is not celebrated in Guatemala). But don't feel bad. We spent an amazing day in Santiago and Sumpango joining in the celebrations for Day of the Dead. In Santiago, this takes place in the cemetery and the surrounding town. Gravestones, mounds and tombs were decorated with grassy leaves, marigolds and other flowers. Huge kites are erected as a symbolic gesture to speaking with the dead in heaven (or something like that).
We just happened to be standing on one of the best tombs for viewing the raising of two kites. Not only is the craftsmanship of the kites breathtaking, but the camaraderie of the boys and men working to lift a 40 foot kite made entirely of tissue paper, bamboo and tape brings tears to one's eyes. Seriously, I could have watched that all day.
The celebration at Sumpango was a bit different. We hiked to the top of a hill (ideal for kite flying) where at least 30 kites ranging from 12 to 40 feet in diameter were presented. Soon after our arrival, they started flying the 12 foot kites. During our time there, three were successfully flying hundreds of feet in the air. Other kites took off only to dive back to earth where the awaiting crowd protected the heads of small children and open beers.
Both towns had several pigs roasting, cotton candy spinning, popcorn popping and many other traditional Guatemalan eats. Needless to say, Ken feasted. Elle ate 3 bags of popcorn, 1 lollipop and cotton candy. That probably doesn't surprise anyone!
And the icing on the cake -- neither of our kids got sick in the car. Score!