The Barriletes Gigantes (giant kite festival) is held in Sumpango near Antigua in conjunction with the day of the dead and all saints celebrations. For the festival locals construct enormous (up to 20m) kites made of cloth and paper with bamboo frames. The Giant Kite Festival in Sumpango occurs yearly on the 1st of November.
Fall in Guatemala is marked by strong winds as the seasons change. If you visit Guatemala at this time of year you will see kites for sale on almost every street corner, children flying kites, and people making kites.
Festival de Barriletes Gigantes
Communities spend the entire year making the richly detailed kites which are displayed at the Festival de Barriletes Gigantes. The vibrantly colored designs on the kites depict religious and folkloric themes and are flown in the nearby to the Sacatepéquez cemetery to honor the dead. The kite festival is a competition as well, with awards for design, and flight times.
Orgin and History of the Festival
The practice of flying colorful kites during the Day of the Dead celebrations has been around for 3,000 years and is recognized by various religious sects. Mayans believe the kites are a tool for communicating with the beyond.
Mountain Biking to the Festival de Barriletes Gigantes
Because of Sumpango’s proximity to Antigua Guatemala and mountainous topography there are a varity trails through you can use to visit festival de Barriletes Gigantes by bike. Each year Mountain Bike Guatemala organizes a Ride to the Giant Kite Festival – starting from Antigua.