Remembering Our Ancestors in November

With the beginning of November come many changes in Guatemala and Xela. As the cover denotes, this month is a time of remembrance and celebration with the Dia de Todos Los Santos (or All Saints’ Day) and los Fieles Difuntos (colloquially known as Day of the Dead).

While All Saints’ Day is a holiday throughout the world and the Day of the Dead is common in many parts of Latin American, these days take on special meaning in Guatemala. Incorporating traditional indigenous beliefs, Guatemalans use these days to commune with their relatives that have passed into the far beyond. This is both a sacred and beautiful celebration, with flowers filling cemeteries- making a (day time) wander through a cemetery worth the trip anytime during the first part of the month (El Calvario in Zone 1 is a particularly popular destination).

In this edition, Susana Raymundo shares some of the important customs of this day, while Diana Pastor focuses on the related pastime of kite flying (which you’ve undoubtedly noticed in the form of trees filled with kite detritus). And, of course, like all special occasions in Guatemala, these days also bring fairs to squares throughout the city. Dangerous looking ferris wheels, fried foods, and cheap trinkets- what better way to celebrate your ancestors?

But don’t despair if you’re reading this after Dia de Todos Los Santos has long passed. Aside from having learned your lesson to grab a copy of XelaWho early in the month, there are plenty of other exciting activities in November. With the arrival of the dry season (which is more than sufficiently discussed in the aptly named “Stuff” section), it is primetime for outdoor activities. With the Xela 21K race this month, Elena Alvarado recounts past “half-marathon” running adventures. Jed Herrmann gives us the inside scoop on Estadio Mario Camposeco, home of Xela’s local soccer team and a great place to catch a game now that it doesn’t involve sitting in the rain.

Finally, with school vacations starting this month, we’re well into the run up to the holiday season- though the sale of Christmas related items actually began in September. Start looking now to make sure you get the nicest fake, plastic tree…

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