Santiago’s local fiesta to honour the Day of the Dead on November 1 is one of the nation’s most spectacular, with massive kites flown from the cemetery to release the souls of the dead from their agony. The festival is immensely popular, and thousands of Guatemalans (and tourists) come every year to watch the spectacle. The colourful kites, made from paper and bamboo, are huge circular creations, measuring up to about 3m in diameter. Teams of young men struggle to get them aloft while the crowd looks on with bated breath, rushing for cover if a kite comes crashing to the ground. All in all it’s quite a scene, the cemetery lined with even larger kites of up to 10m across that are too heavy to get off the ground but which form an impressive backdrop. Early mornings are often calm, with the wind usually picking up around lunchtime, so you may want to time your arrival accordingly.

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