As I got to work this morning I remembered that today is All Saints Day, and for all I know I'm the only one around here that knew it. This is a really big holiday in Guatemala though, and a few times today my mind wandered off to our former home. Late in the day when I had a conversation with a colleague about the research project I had worked on there, I couldn't take it anymore, and had to look at the kites again.
In Guatemala, All Saints Day comes as the rainy season finally ends and the weather turns crisp and clear in the highlands. People pack picnic lunches and spend the day cleaning and decorating the tombs of departed loved ones, and as the breezes pick up they head to the higher parts of town for the main event.
Many towns have a tradition of building and flying enormous round kites on All Saints Day. Some of these barriletes measure 3 or 4 meters across and require a small team of men to fly them (or else the kite will fly the man!). Tacaná, where we used to live, is less than an hour's walk from the Continental Divide, at the head of a long gorge leading up from the Pacific coast. Good place for big kites.