Kites On Sale

It's Barrilete Time

The Guatemalan word for kite is barrilete. Papalote is the most often heard word in Spanish for kite, but in Guatemala barrilete is what people use. The kites on sale at this convenience store or tienda are Q2/$.25. The kite that the little boy was holding yesterday was bought from this store.

Kites have a very special meaning for many Guatemalans, especially the indigenous. Kites and Giant kites are used to help guide the dead ones back to their love ones and to the cemeteries where they are remembered. Giant kites are flown over the cemeteries of Sumpango and Santiago Sacatepéquez. If you can read Spanish you can browse this photographic tour of the giant kites. Giant kites are flown on November 1st and 2nd; so if you are around, grab your camera and backpack and head up to one of those towns.

Here’s a summary of what you can expect for this celebration:

On November 1st and 2nd Guatemala, like many other catholic countries, celebrates the Day of the Dead (Dí­a de los Difuntos) and the All Saints Day (Dí­a de los Santos). The cemeteries, from the most exclusive to the most modest and humble, become overwhelmed with people bringing flowers, crosses, food and even music (sometimes Mariachi music) to their dead relatives…

Fiambre, a salad made from cold cuts, all kinds of meats, fish, vegetables and pickled vegetables, is served on November 1st, after a visit to the cemetery. Fiambre is a cold meal of Spanish origin, possibly from the Extremadura provinces in Spain. Fiambre is a very special meal for Guatemalans and it is only available on November 1st and 2nd. Because fiambre is an extremely rare and unique meal which can include over 50 ingredients, I decided to show you the final part of the preparation through a slide show.

© 2007 – 2013, Rudy Giron. All rights reserved.

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  • sompopo

    Day Of the dead ceremonies would be very interesting to see in person. The significants of the kites during this time is something I have never heard about before. Interesting indeed.

  • Thanks, Rudy, for taking the time to share this with us. I find this tradition so interesting — probably b/c it’s something I don’t practice. Always fascinating to learn how others honor their ancestors and loved ones.

  • It seems as if you were able to freeze time from yesterday’s picture and take this other one at the exact same second… you can see this guy in the back of the child… what kind of superpowers you have Rudy?

  • Donald

    My wife and I just got back from Santiago a little while ago. We saw the kites and a very nice lady gave me a sample of her fiambre that she had prepared at home. I commented to my wife as we passed them on the street “I’ll bet that’s fiambre” and the lady whipped the cover off the big container and insisted that I try it.

  • Sompopo, actually today is All Saints Day and tomorrow is the Day of Dead, but in Guatemala they sort of blend together.

    Lessie, there’s more to come. Stay tune.

    Manolo, this is the kind of power you get after eating fiambre. Remember you all will be assimilated. 😉

    Donald, I didn’t know you were in Guate at this very moment. Give me a call so we can meet.

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