At the risk of outing myself as a stick-in-the-mud, I will confess here that I hate Halloween. The pressure to find or make the perfect costume, the actual trick-or-treating itself, the excessive hauls of candy, the subsequent battles over the rationing of said candy, and my own inability to resist the stashes of chocolate I know are hidden in every cabinet, tote bag, pillowcase, and drawer: All of it conspires to bring out my worst characteristics.
So when my friend S, another adoptive mom to two kids born in Guatemala who lives near us in California, invited my sister Patrice and me to share her rented house in Antigua during the All Saints’ Day celebration on November 1, we said yes. For years we’d wanted to witness the flying of the giant kites at Sumpango—constructed with colorful tissue paper affixed to bamboo frames by teams of builders who compete for glory and prizes–and last week, we finally did. Magnificent!
Later, we visited the cemetery in Antigua, where, as in cemeteries throughout Guatemala, families gathered around gravestones to remember their beloved dead.
It’s easy to get to Sumpango from Antigua. Just be sure to leave early, because the traffic becomes insane. We made arrangements through the fabulous Nancy Hoffman of Guatemala Reservations.
To learn more about the Sumpango celebration, read Things to Do in Guatemala: Visit the Sumpango Festival of Giant Kites.