Burning of the Devil, Guatemala ̶ Fighting Fire with Fire
Burning of the Devil 2012/Quema del Diablo 2012:
When it happens: December 2012
Where it happens: Guatemala(Republic of Guatemala),Central America
Burning of the Devil, Guatemala or known as Quema del Diablo in Guatemala, is performed just before Christmas. A ritual of cleansing is performed on the day devoted to burn the Devil. In their tradition, it is believed that the devil lurks under the bed and furniture of each household so they do spring cleaning to get rid of the devil.
Useless trash and unwanted materials littering the homes of the citizens are dumped in piles on the street after which a bonfire will be lit to burn them. Moreover, an effigy of the devil will be burned along with the trash. You must admit it’s not really an eco-friendly activity with all that black smoke and soot filling the air and the neighborhood, but it is believed that the devil and the evil spirits are purged by burning them.
What to Expect
Prior to the event of Burning of the Devil, Guatemala, market stalls will be selling a lot of effigies in the form of papier–mâché for families and folks who wants to burn their own devil. There will also be stalls selling light up devil horns and devil apparel. Street foods with sizzling meat to commemorate the occasion would also be an added attraction to the day the devil will sizzle in flames.
Because the event involves fire and a literal raging inferno would fill the skies and festive streets, there will be fire trucks stationed in potentially hazardous places, most especially in front of gas stations. On a public platform where everyone can watch, there will be huge effigy of the Devil, with its eyes designed to look menacingly towards the audience. The wooden frame of the effigy will then be packed with a lot of firecrackers and it will be doused with several cans of gasoline.
Burning of the Devil, Guatemala will no doubt be filled with the robust scent of petroleum and thick black smoke. It is necessary for those with respiratory problems to be highly protected from the fumes and smoke and, if it can’t be helped, they should leave the city for the time being.
Burning of the Devil, Guatemala Traditions
The tradition began in colonial times when the poor, who cannot afford lanterns to adorn their house with for the feast of the Immaculate Conception, the patron of Guatemala City, decided instead to gather their garbage and burn all of the year’s rubbish in front of their homes. It was eventually taken noticed by everyone in the society and soon effigies of the Devil are also burned along with the trash. This marks the clearance to pave way for the feast of the Immaculate Conception.
This event symbolizes the burning of the bad traits and sins accumulated within the year in able to start new ̶ like a phoenix’s rebirth from engulfing itself with fire. It is through this event that the people of Guatemala hope that political, financial, and health issues in their country will turn out for the better every year in years to come.