Day of the Dead... Kites and Colours.
Santiago Sacatepequez Travel Blog› entry 8 of 21 › view all entries
After the Copan ruines we made our way back in to Guatemala to Antigua, as we were keen to attend the festival for Day of the Dead - held over the 1st and 2nd November. The festival is a celebration for all those who have passed on, to help celebrate their lives and help the passage of the spirits to the skies. Essentially they raise giant kites to the skies to guide the spirits back to heaven. Apparently those giant kites that end up torn by the wind are burned in the evening to guide the vagabond spirits to the skies.
We did a day trip out to the town of Santiago Sacatepequez, which is known for putting on a great show in terms of the kites and festivities.
Our tour was a bit disorganised and it took ages to get everyone in the various buses. Despite us being ready for 10am we only left an hour later, getting to the town in time for lunch. We walked along the packed streets lined with stalls of all descriptions and people as far as the eye could see. We slowly made our way to the cemetry and when we got there people were walking everywhere - over graves and around. Families were having picnics on graves of loved ones. Kids were flying little kites all over the show and several large kites had already been erected - with two more going up while we wondered around. The atmosphere was really festive with people cheering as kites went up, there were food sellers everwhere... from ice-cream to pizza.
We walked around for about an hour before deciding to head back down to the tour pick up point. It was such a nightmare getting back down the main street, with a wall of people barely moving as people pushed and shoved in every direction. Essentially a massive bottle neck had been created... you had people heading down the road covering about two thirds of the width and then you had people coming up the road covering about two thirds... only to meet in the middle and realise that two thirds and two thirds does not make a whole.
After much pushing and shoving, having heads in your back, elbows in your face, children´s feet in your ears - as they were being lifted on father´s shoulders and witnessing mothers breast feeding in the crowd, we finally made it out of the throng and waited on the side for the others to appear. Al was the first out and told us how he had witnessed an old lady beat up a kid who had tried to pick her pockets. Apparently the old lady grabbed him by the nose... i.e. her fingers up his nose and then proceeded to hit him about the head. Al said people had to pull her off him... that boy must have been hugely embarassed to be beat up by a granny.
Slowly we made our way to the pick up point eating street food along the way. I had some sweet corn bread thing... very tasty.