The Burning of the 13 Baktun Devil in Antigua Guatemala

The Burning of the 13 Baktun Devil in Antigua Guatemala by Nelo Mijangos

La Antigua Guatemala is a very small town, heck Guatemala, the country, is just slightly bigger than Antigua Guatemala when it comes to meeting people or projects or getting in touch. Anyway, a couple of times before I was reminded how in Guatemala we only have Two Degrees of Separation. Today’s main photo is such an example of that. See, the devil effigy is put on display during daylight a few days before the burning on December 7 and put away at night for safe keeping until the burning. So, the other day I talked Nelo on my way home after another successful meeting at the photo club we preside, Club Fotográfico de Antigua (CFA for short) and he told me he was making photos of the devil figure; how I asked, shouldn’t it be in storage by now. Sure, he shouted back, but at Geovin’s house, another good friend and photographer. In other words, the main image is a photograph from a studio session with the devil effigy done by Nelo Mijangos and Geovin Morales. It’s very special because I don’t think something like this has ever been done before.

What’s all this deal about burning the devil, I hear you asking? Well, as I have shared with you before, last year and all the years before that on the 7th of December. Here’s the deal: La Antigua Guatemala remains as one of the few places where you can join hundreds of people willing to Burn the Devil and the bad spirits in a cleansing ceremony through the 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.

Photos by Nelo Mijangos

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