Every year in the beginning of November, people in the Guatemalan cities of Sumpango, Santiago and Sacatepequez gather to honor those who have passed away, by flying enormous and colorful kites, called barriletes, in the sky. The festivals are part of the Dia de los Muertos, and the tradition of kites dates back over 300 years! These kites are sometimes as large as 40 meters in diameter and can take up to 6 months to build.
Build your own version of a barrilete using bamboo skewers and tissue paper, or design your own kite using household objects such as paper and plastic bags. Check out the resources below to learn more about the tradition of Barriletes and see how they are made.
– Thin skewers, dowels or sticks
– Tissue paper, Construction paper or sheet of plastic
– Paint or markers for decoration
Tips and thoughts:
– How does the shape of your kite affect how it flies? What about the size?
– Remember to attach your strings to the outside edges of your kite, and connect them in the middle of the kite, kind of like a parachute.
– Test out different lengths of string when flying. You might have to adjust strings after testing.
– Kites in modern Guatemala are used not only to communicate to ancestors, but also to spread messages of peace and love for the living. What message do you want to place on your kite?
– Learn about the kites and tradition of the Giant Kite Festival in Sumpango Guatemala.
– Watch how a mini Barrilete is made.
– Don’t have special materials? Make this simple kite using household items.
– Written Instructions
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