SANTIAGO SACATEPEQUEZ, Guatemala (Reuters) – Thousands gathered in Central Guatemala on Friday to watch giant kites take flight, a local tradition intended to reconnect the living and the deceased, as Day of the Dead celebrations kicked off throughout the region.
Day of the Dead, a holiday that marries Catholic rituals and pre-Hispanic beliefs, is celebrated throughout Latin America on the first two days of November.
The holiday’s reach is wide, extending to Catholic communities as far away as the Philippines, and it takes a different form in each geography.
In Mexico, families pack cemeteries to adorn graves with marigolds and candles, also erecting altars in their homes to welcome the dead. Women and men alike smear their faces with white paint and ring their eyes in black, channeling the iconic “Catrinas,” or elegant skulls.
One of the most spirited celebrations in the region takes place in the Guatemalan municipality of Santiago, where Mayan tradition looms large….
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