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All Saints’ Day: A unique tradition in Guatemala

All Saints’ Day: A unique tradition in Guatemala

November 1, 2016

All Saints’ Day is the name that is used in Guatemala to name the celebration that takes place on November 1st., on this day, families get together and visit the cemetery where their passed relatives are buried. This is a day to share with those who are not on this earth anymore, but that still live on the memory of their loved ones.

This traditional day is celebrated in different parts of Latin America, in México, for example it is a big celebration. In Guatemala, All Saints’ Day is celebrated in a very unique way, keep reading to find out more.

El Fiambre: the star of the table

One of the main characteristics of this celebration is Fiambre, a typical Guatemalan dish that has a very particular taste and, of course, can only be eaten on November 1st. There are many stories about its origin, but many people believe that it came from the Spanish Peninsula, and that it was popularized by a group of nuns.

There are two types of fiambre: white and red. Also, there are many different recipes and ways to prepare it, each family adds a personal and unique touch, that way you can find many different types of fiambre in each family you visit. Nevertheless, the basic ingredients are the same: veggetables, cheese, meats and cold meats.

Visit to the cemetery

On November 1st. the whole family gathers at the cemetery to take flowers and food to their passed relatives, they share a moment with them. It is a day to celebrate both death and life. On the cemeteries you will find people playing games, others sell different kinds of food, and you will also see many families that look like they were on camping.

Sumpango kite flying

Only in Guatemala you can appreciate this tradition, it doesn’t only involve a lot of color but also a very peculiar story: the legend says that evil spirits used to wander around Sumpango, disturbing the good souls; when they noticed this, the town people asked their spiritual leaders how to get rid of those evil spirits. After a lot of thinking, they realized that if they found a way to make the wind hit colorful pieces of paper, it would make the spirits go away. That is why, by flying kites people are trying to guard off their land from those malevolent souls.

This tradition, besides having a colorful story, has become one of the most popular activities that take place on this special day, the work that it takes may even last the whole year, when you see the amazing kites flying on November 1st., you will notice how much talent, art and creativity it takes to get there.

This is the way Guatemala remembers and celebrates death. This is undoubtedly a unique tradition worthwhile of experiencing, sharing and showing to the world.


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