The Disappearance of the Burning of the Devil Tradition in Guatemala

Burning of the Devil in Guatemala

Okay, let me break the bad news to you guys. The Burning of the Devil tradition in Guatemala is disappearing. Even though, I read a couple articles about La quema del diablo (Burning of the Devil) in the national newspapers, when I finally decided to go out to the streets to photograph the celebration, I could not find anything bigger than small fogatas (bon fires). I even asked around to the people in the community and they told me it was not celebrated like it used to by the gone-by elders.

Even Iván Mendoza who goes by the nickname of Diciembre7 and uses a burning devil as an avatar twitted about the disappearance:

la quema del diablo es una tradición, no la podes quitar de la noche a la mañana, aunque en los últimos 5 años casi desaparecio…

The burning of the devil is a tradition, you can not do without over night, although in the past 5 years it almost disappeared.

I guess that La Antigua Guatemala remains as one of the few places where you can meet with hundreds of people willing to Burn the Devil and the bad spirits in cleansing ceremony through purifying power of fire. The idea of the La quema del diablo celebration was to get rid of the devil, the bad spirits, the bad vibes and anything negative that may interfere with the celebrations of Nacimientos (Nativity Scenes), Posadas (Quest for Shelter [Español/English verses]) and Christmas celebration which begin officially with the Feast for the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception on December 8th.

© 2008 – 2020, Rudy Giron. All rights reserved.

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