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Todos Santos: Cemetery Celebrations

‘The festival continues as families pay their respects to departed loved ones, praying and decorating tombs with gaudy garlands.”

As in other areas of Guatemala, the remote village of Todos Santos just over 8000 feet above sea level in the northern Guatemalan highlands celebrates El Día de Todos Los Santos or All Saints’ Day on November 1.

Countrywide cemeteries are the heart of festivities. However, in Todos Santos locals also hold a unique horse race with Mayan roots; “…inebriated, traditionally clad locals race horses…. All-male jockeys, hardy residents of Todos Santos, spend a sleepless night beforehand ritualistically drinking themselves into an alcohol-induced stupor….”.

Below are a few shots of cemetery scenes taken on my arrival in Todos Santos on October 31 a couple of years ago.

While this post focuses on the cemetery, you can also check out Todos Santos: A Drunken Guatemalan Horse Race from where I took the extracts above.

Cemetery wreaths, Todos Santos Cuchumatán, Huehuetenango, Guatemala

Plastic wreath and flower stall in the dirt street outside the town cemetery

Selling cemetery wreaths, Todos Santos Cuchumatán, Huehuetenango, Guatemala

Selling plastic wreaths and flowers outside the cemetery

Town cemetery, Todos Santos Cuchumatán, Huehuetenango, Guatemala

Inside the town cemetery. U.S.A. flag painted on a tomb. Houses scattered on a foggy hillside in the background.

Town cemetery, Todos Santos Cuchumatán, Huehuetenango, Guatemala

Inside the town cemetery. A little girl arranging flowers at a tomb while thick fog creeps in.

Town cemetery, Todos Santos Cuchumatán, Huehuetenango, Guatemala

Inside the town cemetery. Plastic wreaths and bunting adorn painted tombs.