Let’s go fly a kite: Guatemala’s families celebrate the "Day of the Dead" in high style

Yes, my friends, that’s a kite.

Have you ever seen a 36-foot wide kite sail into the heavens? That’s what they’re doing en masse today on the next stop of our Travels with Baby Traditions: Sumpango, Guatemala. Here to share the fun details is our guest blogger reporting from lovely Central America, Marina K. Villatoro

What is one of the most unexpected festivals Guatemala?  November 1 – or better know as ‘Day of the Dead’. Sounds like a pretty morbid day – yet it’s been transformed into one of the most colorful and unique holidays in the world.

Instead of mourning the dead, a Guatemalan tradition was born over 500 years ago where the people started building kites that were over 36 feet (12 meters) in diameter. They would then fly these incredible artistic and intricate kites high in the sky to reach the spirits of their beloved from the cemeteries.

Today the tradition is as strong as ever and I would say one of the best times to visit Guatemala. 

Sumpango is where the main kite festival is held yearly with artists, women’s groups and school children from five years old and up designing kites of all shapes and sizes varying from political art to Maya Indian art to personal designs.   Then the contests begin. The kites are sent up soaring into to the sky as the people stand proud of their heritage while showing tribute to ancestors.

This is without a doubt a kid’s holiday come true. Where else will they have the chance to watch kites three times bigger than them take off, but also have a million of different kites to chose from that they can run wild with all over the stadium?

This holiday to me represents family bonding. Every time we head out my oldest son (now seven) runs through the grass with his dad trying not to get the string of his kite caught on someone’s head or a branch. And what I do is sing to my baby: “Let’s go fly a kite, up the highest height – Let’s go Fly a kite!” ( Mary Poppins).

Thanks so much to today’s guest blogger, Marina K. Villatoro, who has been living as an Expat in Central America for over ten years where she’s raising two trilingual-Global Citizens (a 7 year old and 1 year old baby) while traveling with her family non-stop in Latin America! You can read all about Central and Latin America on her site: http://travelexperta.com.


About this series: This post is part of the new Travels with Baby Traditions series, where we’ll be exploring the favorite activities, events and traditions of families in destinations around the world. If you would like to share a special tradition of families from your location, please email a short summary and bio to “contact” at Travels with Baby (dot) com for consideration

Safe journeys,
Shelly Rivoli
Author of the award-winning Travels with Baby guidebooks

All content of this blog (c) Shelly Rivoli 2007 – 2011