Wednesday, January 4, 2012

DAY OF THE DEAD----ALL SAINTS DAY CELEBRATION

OUR TRIP TO SUMPANGO......ONE OF TWO GUATEMALAN KITE FESTIVALS



Situated in the Western Highlands where we previously visited Antigua & Lake Atitlan, the Highlands are the Heartland of the traditional Guatemalan Maya people; so we decided to do another fun excursion with fellow cruisers.Vern & Michelle (S/V Enchantment) organized the trip to Sumpango through "TTA shuttle service". For the return trip from Guate City at a cost of 19.62US per person we would be able to spend the day at the festival.
The van dropped the twelve of us off on the highway where we could easily hike up a path between rows of corn to Sumpango. We passed an assortment of vendors, their grills roasting yellow, blue and black corn;

and hot tortillas.

As we got closer to the top of the hill, we could see hundreds of small kites flown by the locals.
The atmosphere was like a country fair,
Everyone friendly, vendors selling Guatemalan flutes, drums, shawls and Chinese umbrellas.
Even this gentleman with his horse;
for photo shoots.
And then the KITES---------WOW, what an incredible sight---some twenty six feet in diameter.
These kites (Barriletes) are made by different groups/ organizations.  A festival committee decides on a theme.  

Then each team decides on a design for their kite. Thousands of pieces of coloured tissue paper are cut and glued to make the design. This task can take up to five months.
Once the design is completed layers of tissue are added to the back for additional strength. Bamboo is used for the kite frame.
We watched as one of the larger kites was carefully unrolled.

attached to its frame
then very carefully pulled into position
We then decided to explore the town of Sumpango first arriving at the cemetery. We saw a number of locals flying their kites high above the cemetery as a symbolic link between the livng and the dead.

The cemetery was full of brillant colour.
Beautiful flowers and pine needles decorated the graves.
The Mayan people share a traditional meal called Fiambre picnic style with their loved ones. Fiambre is a mixture of cheese, meat and vegetables cured with vinegar.
 
Heading further into town the cobblestone streets were brimming with more vendors....

Every minute it was getting more and more difficult to make our way through the streets so we decided it was time to head back to the kite field. Unfortunately the large kites would not be flown until sunset. By four o'clock we all felt it was time to head back to Guate City. It was getting too busy.  And, it was a good thing we left when we did. Our half hour ride to Sumpango took us two hours to get back. We ended up detouring through Antigua because the traffic was at a standstill. 

3 comments:

Dance Aweigh said...

Good to see a new blog entry! Keep enjoying Guatemala - great photos.
Margaret & Rich

Anonymous said...

Lynn, this is the first time I have ever seen this. It was a wonderful adventure for me. Nancy

Motor Vessel Felicity said...

High States! We found you through another blog. So good to connect online. We are Jessica, GR & Gia from San San, but we sold San San on the Rio and bought Felicity. Looks like you are still having fun! Still playing Volleyball and doing crafts?
Take Care. Love,
Jessica GR & Gia
MV Felicity