Last year I was in Guatemala for Día de los Muertos or Day of the Dead. November 1 and 2 marks a very important ritual throughout Guatemala, especially in the predominantly indigenous town of Santago Sacatepequez, where a unique kite-flying festival of the Katchiquel people integrate the Catholic feast of All Saints day with pre-Columbian Mayan practices of remembering the dead.
It also marks the end of the rainy season. I’d been in the area since the beginning of July, and as if someone flipped a switch, the daily pouring vanished and for the first time in months if felt the wind. Bamboo kites are made as a way to communicate with the dead, symbolically attracting the spirits to earth to reunite the living and the dead.
I’ve always loved the traditions associated with Día de los Muertos because it’s about remembering and celebrating life, not fearing death.