All Souls Day Procession Honors the Ancestors in Antigua, Guatemala

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In Guatemala, a procession through the cobblestone streets of the former capital, Antigua, marks the end of the Day of the Dead, All Saints and All Souls.

Procession Commemorating the Souls of the Departed

Every year it takes place on the first Saturday night of November. The Roman Catholic Escuela de Jesus created a float with the lifeless body of Jesus being mourned by the Virgin Mary, the Angel Gabriel at hand, bourne by numerous men and women throughout the streets. Dirge-playing marching bands and robed marchers follow. Carried through the cobblestone streets of Antigua by numerous bearers, honors the spirits of the ancestors, those who suffered and died, and those who carry great burdens.

All Souls Day Procession in Antigua

A procession with funerary music and Catholic floats commemorate All Souls Day Procession in Antigua, Guatemala.

Day of the Dead, Guatemala

The procession marking the end of Day of the Dead in Guatemala happens on the first Saturday night of November every year.

Day of the Dead in Antigua

The Virgin Mary mourns.

Day of the Dead in Guatemala

For Dia de los Muertos, Guatemaltecos honor their ancestors with a series of devotions, rituals, and celebrations. October 31st generally brings families together with brooms, buckets, paint, and gloves to clean the final resting places of their loved ones. They repair and repaint their family mausoleums and niches. The cemeteries fill with people preparing for the visits and adorning that will happen the following day.

On November 1, families head to the grave site with favorite food and drink of passed family members. In some areas, families hire marimba bands to play for their loved ones. They decorate grave sites with flowers, plants, and wreaths to show thanks to their family members.

Dia de los Muertos

The Day of the Dead in Guatemala includes visits to the cemetery bearing flowers and prayers.

All Souls Day happens on the 2nd of November, and many villages fly giant colorful kites and others race horses through the streets. The Antigua procession is the conclusion to the festivities.

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About Jack Eidt

Novelist, urban theorist, and environmental journalist, Jack Eidt careens down human-nature's all consuming one-way highway to its inevitable conclusion -- Wilder Utopia. He co-founded Wild Heritage Planners, based out of Los Angeles, California. He can be reached at jack (dot) eidt (at) wilderutopia (dot) com. Follow him on Twitter @WilderUtopia and @JackEidt