Sumpango is one of the cities in Guatemala where they celebrate All Saints Day in a very different way with a festival of 'Barriletes' (giant kites).
There are various legends about how this festival was born, with the most accepted ones being; according to locals the spirits come out on the 1st November (before Day of the Dead on 2nd November) to scare and annoy the residents. Exasperated the locals asked their spirit guide what they should do to drive away these spirits, and he urged they should take big pieces of paper, that they let them blow in the wind and make lots of noise. Then finally someone discovered the the giant kites were the more efficient at scaring away bad spirits.
And just like that a tradition was born. Others believe that the Barriletes are simply a form of communication between the dead and the living, especially between the 1st November Todos Santos (All Saints) and 2nd November Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead). The kites are used to unite the deceased with the living who are remembering them.
Read the above history of the barriletes en Sumpango in Spanish and a first hand account of visiting the festival.
Hoy en día, these days the kites are not only flown to ward off the bad spirits or connect with deceased loved ones but also to send messages of solidarity or protest against inequality, displaying messages such as:
"Guatemala no más sangre", "No más muertes de vidas inocentes en Guatemala", "Hijos de la cultura ancestral", "Respetar la vida es tejer la paz" o "Todos merecemos el mismo respeto".
Below are some links to some super videos in English and Spanish about the festival de Barriletes en Guatemala and also a JPEG for you to print at home and design your own Barrilete - who would it be for or what message will it send?