On September 15, all of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica celebrated Independence Day. In Guatemala, most of the celebrations include parades with bands (almost every school has their own parade) and with antorchas. Each community, school, or organization light their smaller torch from a main fire (there's a few throughout the city), then run on the roads back to their community. The run symbolizes the messengers running through Central America with the news of independence. There's no need to block off roads or anything - the runners take over the right hand lane are flanked by trucks that drive slowly. So the traffic might slow down but it's not a big deal. Most of the roads in Guatemala are either several lanes wide or barely used so that's helpful.
On October 20, Guatemala celebrated the anniversary of the 1944 revolution, where they toppled authoritarian leaders and held free elections. There weren't any particular celebrations or anything - lots of businesses closed or reduced hours though. Think of it like Veteran's day in the states but more event-specific.
On November 1, the more commonly known Dia de los Muertos was celebrated in Mexico and Guatemala. Many people visit cemeteries to remember their relatives who have passed on. The unofficial (or maybe official? I'm not sure) food of the day is Fiambre, a huge tub of diced meats and veggies cooked in vinegar and served cold. Some people bring fiambre to the cemeteries for their relatives, since it keeps well from all the vinegar. The family I'm staying with does not celebrate Dia de los Muertos since they are Christians (and also because it is a much bigger holiday in Mexico than in Guatemala), but they still taught me how to make fiambre! It's a very bright shade of pink because there are beets that stain everything.
And of course, now everyone is gearing up for Christmas! Even before October was over, grocery stores started carrying Christmas decorations, and some shopping plazas were hanging up lights. I guess when a country doesn't have Thanksgiving, there's no need to wait to get the party started!
Thanks for listening!