December 11, 2010

Photoblog: Quemada del Diablo in Antigua, Dec 7th

To start the Holiday season, all Antigua gather on the night of December 7th to see burning a large effigy of the Devil (Quemada Del Diablo). Guatemalans believe that the Devil live inside their houses and by burning him, he'll be expelled from their houses and homes. The date marks the eve of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, and is chosen to symbolize the eternal struggle between good and evil.

The tradition of burning the devil began in colonial times. In anticipation of the feast of the Immaculate Conception, the patron of Guatemala City, those who could afford it adorned the fronts of their houses with lanterns. Eventually, the poor who could not afford such lanterns began gathering their garbage and would burn all of the year's rubbish in front of their houses. Over time it was formalized and in addition to individual piles of garbage, communities started to burn The Devil to clear the way for Mary's feast.

The Devil decorated with firecrackers
A man read the charges being leveled against the wooded effigy.

the firemen are ready

the crowd is waiting with excitement

the Devil burning
Just impressive!