Burning of the Devil (La Quema del Diablo) The popular tradition in Guatemala held every year on December 7th, at 6:00 pm. Families make bonfires on the street, in front of their houses to burn the image of the Devil.
The burning of the Devil is one of those strong traditions in Guatemalan culture, and it is particularly popular in Antigua Guatemala. This date is very important, for the next day, December 8th is the Virgin of Conception (Día de La Virgen de Concepción), which is a very important day for Antigua Guatemala citizens.
Records found show that this tradition started since 18th century in Guatemala, a traditional ceremony to purify your home and and to keep off evil spirits. But in Antigua Guatemala, this tradition is another reason for party; at the beginning of the 1990s, the tradition of constructing the figure of the Devil with a human shape emerged, this human-size figure is made by specialized craftsmen that elaborate it in a very artistic way. Local people and tourists get together at the center of Barrio de La Concepción (4a Calle Oriente), near city’s entrance to see how this Devil figure is burned.
Each year is a different design, making the Devil very expressive and something impressive to watch. Tourists and Guatemalans travel to Antigua Guatemala just to see this event. Many times, the shape and design represent a satire of different people, some with political motives or representing different events from other parts of the world.
This religious tradition symbolizes the end of evil, consumed by fire which is a purifying element, since the devil represents darkness and evil.