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Burning the Devil Options
Daemon
Posted: Saturday, December 7, 2019 12:00:00 AM
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Burning the Devil

La Quema del Diablo takes place in Guatemala. Men dressed as devils chase children through the streets from the start of Advent until December 7, the eve of the Immaculate Conception. On this day, fires are lit in the streets of Guatemala City and other towns, and the devils' reign of terror comes to an end. More...
KSPavan
Posted: Saturday, December 7, 2019 1:18:56 AM

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Burning the Devil
La Quema del Diablo takes place in Guatemala. Men dressed as devils chase children through the streets from the start of Advent until December 7, the eve of the Immaculate Conception. On this day, fires are lit in the streets of Guatemala City and other towns, and the devils' reign of terror comes to an end.
Adyl Mouhei
Posted: Saturday, December 7, 2019 5:50:30 AM

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Location: Casablanca, Grand Casablanca, Morocco
By Kate Newman

A young man steadies a piñata shaped like the devil on the ground before him. The smug-faced demon is about three feet tall, with spiky red horns, a black tissue-paper goatee, and a small pitchfork in his hand.

He scatters branches and newspaper around the devil’s black boots and snakes a long chain of firecrackers around his chubby waist as the countdown begins. Diez, nueve, ocho….

He dashes inside, returning seconds later with his wife and children, then bends to light a match as the neighborhood chorus reaches uno. The firecrackers pop wildly, making the hollow piñata convulse. The family cheers as the devil keels over and continues to burn.

Every December 7 at 6:00 p.m. sharp, Guatemalans “burn the devil,” building bonfires outside their homes to mark the occasion. The tradition has special significance in Guatemala City because of its association with the Feast of the Immaculate Conception which honors the city’s patron saint.

But where did the tradition come from, and how is it changing?

Guate is Burning

According to Celso Lara, an expert on Guatemalan popular culture, the origins of la quema del diablo can be traced to colonial times when it was commonplace for people to light lanterns or, for those with lesser means, bonfires outside their homes to celebrate special occasions.

At the Santo Domingo monastery in Antigua, it became an annual tradition to burn a figure of the devil and light firecrackers on the Day of the Rosary in late October. As local priests began to put more emphasis on the Virgin’s triumph over evil, the celebration was pushed back to December to coincide with the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

Many believed that the devil lurked in the home, crouching behind furniture, tucked under the bed, or concealed in piles of rubbish. To cleanse their homes of evil on the night before the feast, Guatemalans would burn their trash on the eve of the feast.

The addition of devil piñatas has been more recent.
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