Burning of the Devil in Guatemala

Quema del Diablo Guatemala | GuatexplorerEvery 7th of December in Guatemala, after 6 pm, many Guatemalan households organize the ceremony of the burning of the Devil. This tradition, as sources say, reach deep into the 16th Century.


The religious meaning of this activity is known: in Catholic Church 8th of December is the day of the Immaculate Conception, Nativity of Mary. It is the day nine months prior to the day of the birth of Holy Virgin, 15th of August. Now, in the old times, there was no public illumination, so they burned fires along the way of processions dedicated to Virgin Mary that started the evening before. During the times it changed into the burning of the Devil.

The idea is to collect all things that you don't need in your house providing that they can burn. It is usually old newspaper, various paper garbage, documents you don't need, branches and wooden objects and so on. Idea is to purify your living space before Christmas. To make this statement more strong, you have to buy a pinata of the little Devil. That one is for burning on the top of the pile saying: Devil, go away from our house, leaving us pure, clean, renewed.

Of course, this typical Guatemalan custom is combined with the fireworks. Everything during the month of December in Guate is combined with the fireworks. The visitor can be puzzled with the number of explosions on a daily basis. But, don't be alarmed and join some Guatemalan family and help them to burn the Devil. After burning usually comes a rich, traditional Guatemalan family supper!


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