Kite Festival, Guatemala Kite Festival, Guatemala

Across Latin America, the Day of the Dead (November 1) is marked in a variety of ways, ranging from the sombre to the festive, from the mournful to the bizarre. While the day is an important one in the Roman Catholic calendar, the festivities often have little to do with Catholicism. One of the more colourful celebrations is in the villages of Sumpango and Santiago Sacatepequez in Guatemala, where hundreds of kites are flown in a traditional festival which is intended to warn off evil spirits. The Festival de Barriletes (Kite Festival) in Sumpango has been taking place for around 80 years, and sees crowds of villagers and outsiders gather on a hilltop overlooking the main cemetery. There’s an atmosphere of celebration with plenty of grilled food and live music, but the main focus of the event is on the elaborate kites. These are made over a period of several months, although tradition dictates that 40 days before the festival the unmarried men of the village head to the coast to collect bamboo for the kites.

The patterns have their roots in Mayan designs, and the day’s festivities seamlessly mix indigenous and Catholic traditions – something which is seen widely across Latin America. Some of the designs today are adapted to convey modern social or political messages within their patterns. Despite the intense work that goes into the making of the kites, once they are released at dusk, their life can very short. The high winds which typically blow at this time can make light work of the delicate paper and bamboo constructions, and the kites are often torn from their frames; but even this is seen as a symbolic analogy of the fleeting nature of our own lives.

While the celebration has deep religious roots, it’s also seen as a way to promote a strong cultural identity within Guatemala’s many ethnic groups. And the skills of the Sumpango kite makers has been recognised far beyond the national borders, with villages invited to kite festivals in France and Colombia in recent years.

Kite Festival in Guatemala Kite Festival in Guatemala

Sumpango and Santiago Sacatepequez are both around 10 miles from Antigua, the tourism capital of Guatemala, and visitors who are in Guatemala at this time can make an easy day trip to see the festivals.


Talk to our Costa Rica expert

Elena Larkin
Elena Larkin

Elena, has been with Sunvil since 2014 and hails from Peru. She is very passionate about Central and South America which is understandable and she comes from those regions. She has a very broad experience of tailor made itineraries, having worked at Natural World Safaris, Best at Travel and Journeys Latin America. You would have thought that Peru would be her favourite destination but in fact it is Argentina. She also know's a great deal about polar cruising.

Call one of our experts to discuss your next holiday with Sunvil on

020 8568 4499

We're open today till 5:30 PM

Make an Enquiry

Please use this form to request further information about a Sunvil holiday or destination.

We promise that a member of our specialist reservation teams will reply personally to your holiday enquiry before 5.30pm if received before 12.00pm (Monday to Friday). Enquiries received after 12.00pm will be replied to within 24-hours (excluding Sundays).

If your enquiry is of an urgent nature, please telephone our dedicated reservation teams on the numbers listed below.

Our lines are open from 9.00am to 5.30pm Monday-Friday and from 9.30am to 4.30pm Saturday.

  • Greece: 020 8758 4758
  • Cyprus: 020 8758 4759
  • Portugal, the Azores, Spain, Italy, Sicily and Scandinavia: 020 8758 4722
  • Latin America: 020 8758 4774

Required Information/h3> * Mandatory Information
Title *
First name *
Surname *
Telephone number *
Alternative telephone number
Email address *
Confirm email address
Preferred method of communication *
If you would like to be called during a specific period, please specify

Details

Preferred departure date *
Duration *
Preferred UK departure airport *
Party size *

Back

  • Adults(12+ yrs)
  • Children(2 to 11 yrs)
  • Infants(Under 2 yrs)
Budget range
Other comments:

Email newsletters

We promise that a member of our specialist reservation teams will reply personally to your holiday enquiry before 5.30pm if received before 12.00pm (Monday to Friday). Enquiries received after 12.00pm will be replied to within 24-hours (excluding Sundays).

If your enquiry is of an urgent nature, please telephone our dedicated reservation teams on the numbers listed below.

Our lines are open from 9.00am to 5.30pm Monday-Friday and from 9.30am to 4.30pm Saturday.

  • Greece: 020 8758 4758
  • Cyprus: 020 8758 4759
  • Portugal, the Azores, Spain, Italy, Sicily and Scandinavia: 020 8758 4722
  • Latin America: 020 8758 4774

Required Information

* Mandatory Information
Title *
First name *
Surname *
Telephone number *
Alternative telephone number
Email address *
Confirm email address
Preferred method of communication *
If you would like to be called during a specific period, please specify
Booking reference number *
Alternatively, please enter your query in the box below:

Email newsletters

Thank you for your enquiry

Thank you for your enquiry. A member of our specialist reservation teams will be in touch shortly.

If your enquiry is of an urgent nature, please telephone our dedicated reservation teams on the numbers listed below.

Our lines are open from 9.00am to 5.30pm Monday-Friday and from 9.30am to 4.30pm Saturday.

  • Greece: 020 8758 4758
  • Cyprus: 020 8758 4759
  • Portugal, the Azores, Italy, Sicily and Scandinavia: 020 8758 4722
  • Latin America: 020 8758 4774

Your details have been saved

Feel free to continue to browse the site and add to your enquiry. Don't forget to send the enquiry before you leave!

My Suitcase

We understand that so much choice can be overwhelming which is why we have developed 'My Suitcase'. This facility allows you to save and compare your favourite holidays, and even allows you to return to your selection at a later stage.

Why not use 'My Suitcase' to compile a wish list of your future Sunvil holidays?

 

Sign in


New to Sunvil?

Create Account


Already have an account?

Password reset

Back

Close

Close