Burning of the Devil in Antigua Guatemala

Burning of the Devil #1

All year long he hides under the bed or in the junk piled up in the corner, casting misfortune or worse on helpless mortals. But on Wednesday, December 7, at 6 p.m. sharp, the Devil gets his comeuppance, as he is tossed out of the house along with the trash and set ablaze in the Quema del Diablo (Burning of the Devil), a tradition in many Guatemalan towns that literally sparks the beginning of the Christmas Season.

The origins of the Quema del Diablo in Guatemala can be traced to colonial times, when the well-to-do adorned the fronts of their homes with elaborate lanterns on the eve of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, explains historian Miguel Álvarez Arévalo. Unable to afford lanterns, poor denizens instead lit bonfires made of kindling and the trash from their homes. The practice over time evolved into the Quema del Diablo. (Quoted from Juan Carlos Ordoñez’s article The Devil Gets His Due in Revue Magazine—click the link to continue reading the article.)

I am publishing today’s photo a little later so I can include the Burning of the Devil photos on its celebration day, December 7th. Instead trying to explain what this celebration entails, I decided to quote and link to the excellent article my friend Juan Carlos Ordoñez wrote last year for the Revue Magazine. Please, do read the article if you want to understand what does burning the of the devil means.

Here are the supporting photos: 1. The close-up of the Burning Devil 2. Meet the Devil in Person 3. Devil Piñata #7.

The Game:
Play to win the grand prize of any of the today’s four photos turn into a postcard and mailing, with Guatemalan Coffee stamps, anywhere in the world. The first person that translate into English the text on the yellow sign underneath the devil on the Meet the Devil in Person photo becomes the winner. Spanish speakers and Spanish bilinguals are not allow to play. Sorry Ale!

© 2006 – 2016, Rudy Girón. All rights reserved.

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  • Jerry

    Translation is Hello my green bellies

  • ale

    damn! I can never play in this kinds of games!!!

  • Jerry: Good try! But, you must translate all the text on the sign, not just one line.

    Ale: I am sorry mano, but it would not be fair since you know all the words and translation is not a problem for you. Besides, you already won a Mayan Pizza as soon as you get down here.

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  • Meg

    The only thing I got was “Green”, but the Photo #3 looks suspiciously similar to Santa, I thought….

  • Curly

    I’ve learned something by visiting today, this feast of burning the devil is a great idea! How many of us have such a great heap of trash to get rid of before Christmas?

    We need to get rid of loads to make way for the new gifts that we will give and receive on Christmas day, I think we should try this in the U.K.

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  • Ughh! That picture reminds me a linchamiento, bad for me ⊙﹏⊙

  • Jessica Freeman64

    i have learned that this is a relly good holiday i mean the burning of the devil how intresting does that sound to you. Anyway i would love to vist here and green is a bout the only thing i can translate but het its all good lol

    • Hi Jessica, now it’s good time to make your reservations. 😉 See you for the Burining of the Devil!