A dev­il­ishly good time

Need to cleanse your­self of your sins be­fore Christmas? Book a flight to Gu­atemala.

Sunday Star-Times - - Escape Entertainment -

In colo­nial times, many Gu­atemalans be­lieved the devil lurked in the home, hid­ing un­der the bed, be­hind fur­ni­ture and in messy spaces. The only way to evict him, it was thought, was to smoke him out.

So, on De­cem­ber 7, peo­ple cleaned their homes, piled the rub­bish on to the street and, at 6pm, set it ablaze, some­times throw­ing an ef­figy on top just to make sure he knew he wasn’t wel­come.

After a devil-free Feast of the Im­mac­u­late Con­cep­tion, which took place the fol­low­ing day, and Christmas sea­son was thus as­sured.

Quema del Di­ablo (Burn­ing of the Devil) is still cel­e­brated through­out Gu­atemala, but the cap­i­tal city and An­tigua host the most spec­tac­u­lar cel­e­bra­tions.

Ex­pect devil pinatas, peo­ple dressed as devils, marimba bands, and fire­works (metaphor­i­cal rock­ets up the devil’s be­hind).

In Gu­atemala City, rev­ellers make their way along Sexta Avenida in the his­toric cen­tre, adding scraps of pa­per to bon­fires as they pass. The fi­nal stop for many is Cen­tral Park, where fire­works ex­plode above the baroque cathe­dral and Na­tional Palace. Show over, fam­i­lies come to­gether to en­joy bunue­los (tra­di­tional dough­nuts) and fruit punch.

A lo­cal dressed as a devil in a pa­rade near An­tigua, Gu­atemala.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.