On this December 7th 2011 my wife and I attended our first Burning of the devil. In all of Antigua, Guatemala, there is only one place where two gas stations sit across the street from each other. That is the place years ago it was decided that this is the spot where every December 7th, people would gather to watch La Quema del Diablo.
This was more then just The Burning of the Devil. I mean like TV crews were lined up on platforms. Satellite dishes were lineup. The fire department had tanker trucks and staff with full gear. on.
How this event works is someone has built a home made wooden Devil to burn. They place this Devil on a platform, cover the Devil in Fireworks, Sawdust and Gasoline. They light the Devil with torches and set the fireworks off.
About a 7 minute show for the thousands that packed into this area of Antigua Guatemala.
We have attached our video of Burning of the Devil.
And yes food, beer and bands followed the Burning of the Devil in Antigua. We are told the celebration goes on all night in Antigua.
Antigua Guatemala the Burning the Devil, Makes Way for Mary
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.
Guatemala, where the annual ritualistic cleansing of the house takes place on December 7th, the eve of the Roman Catholic feast of the Immaculate Conception.
Families are supposed to gather at sundown to burn any junk, or “bad things” accumulated during the year. This tradition, called the “burning of the devil,” dates back to colonial times and is meant to clear the way for the celebration of Mary’s life.