All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day

All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day (Guatemala)

October 31-November 2
Throughout Latin America, All Saints' Day, November 1, and All Souls' Day, November 2, are treated like a single holiday. In Guatemala, the Indian villagers of Todos Santos (which means "All Saints") stretch these celebrations honoring the dead into a three-day-long affair by adding October 31. Families pay homage to the dead on All Souls' Day by decorating the graves of their loved ones and offering flowers, corn, squash, and orange slices at church. They position them on the floor of the church, pour some coffee into the flower blossoms, and then shake droplets of brandy over the whole display.
These solemn offerings are in stark contrast to the highlight of the festival, wild horse races, in which many of the riders have been drinking since the previous night. In the town of Santiago Sacatepequez people fly huge kites in the graveyard and many attach prayers and notes to their deceased loved ones to the kites' tails.
CONTACTS:
Guatemalan Tourist Board
7A Avenida
Zona 4, Centro Civico 1-17 Guatemala
502-2421-2810; fax: 502-2421-2891
www.visitguatemala.com/nuevo/mainE.asp
SOURCES:
FiestaTime-1965, p. 163

Celebrated in: Guatemala


All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day (Peru)
November 1-2
In parts of Peru, the normally solemn celebration of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day gives way to some lively courtship rituals. In Arequipa and Cuzco, for example, many of the young men deliver cakes in the form of a baby, decorated with colored candies to their sweetheart's home. There they hold a mock baptismal ceremony in which they play the role of godfather. This entering into the ritual relationship of compadrazgo, or godfathership, often paves the way for marriage later on. On November 2 the young men of Tomaiquiche village visit their girlfriends' homes at dawn to sing to them. The girls reward their suitors by opening a window or door and dousing them with drops of urine. Although this may not seem like a traditional token of love, urine is kept in a closed container in some homes because it is believed to have curative powers.
CONTACTS:
Commission on the Promotion of Peru
Calle Uno Oeste No. 50, piso 13th
Urb. Corpac
Lima, 27 Peru
51-1-4224-3131; fax: 51-1-224-7134
www.promperu.gob.pe
SOURCES:
FiestaTime-1965, p. 163

Celebrated in: Peru