Monday, December 08, 2008

La Quema del Diablo

The Burning of the Devil is celebrated every seventh of December here in Antigua and effectively marks the beginning of the month-long pyrotechnics season.

The tradition of setting fire to rubbish as an annual purification ritual has medieval roots, but here in Guatemala it seems that under Spanish rule wealthy households liked to mark the eve of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception by lighting up a lantern outside their gates. Meanwhile their poorer neighbours got into the habit of setting up small bonfires instead.

It's not entirely clear how Old Nick got involved in all this, nor why anyone would have thought fire was a fine way of purifying him out of their lives.

This particular cachudo met his end on the rough land behind our house, courtesy of V's nephews and nieces, one of whom had added a little surprise by surreptitiously placing a bomba inside the red piñata before tossing it into the flames.

No comments: