Flying kites, exploring Star Wars sites in Guatemala; Norma Meyer; LA Daily News

Guatemala – Tikal National Park

At my feet, the name “Lucio” is marked atop a dirt grave but I doubt he’s RIP right now. I’m in a rural cemetery in Guatemala, encircled by a kaleidoscope of colossal five-story-tall kites and throngs of festive mourners. They’re using the fluttering tissue-paper conduits to communicate with the dead. Firecrackers explode and onlookers raucously cheer as multicolored mosaic-like kites — too huge to fly — are hoisted upright by strong young men at the All Saints Day Kite Festival.

It is an extraordinary age-old spiritual spectacle. Guatemala is the only country in the world that on the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead-Nov. 1), launches dazzling hand-made kites hoping to coax ancestors briefly back to Earth.

Just walking up here is lively enough.

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