Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Quema de Diablo

A stray dog got in the house. Not my house, of course, I live on the 11th floor of the second tallest building in Guatemala. The stray dog was hiding in the bathtub of my friend Lissy’s mother’s house. The dog was hiding because tonight is La Quema del Diablo, or The Burning of the Devil. According to my friend Tobin, The Burning of the Devil is the informal commencement of the holiday season, a day when Guatemalans get together and burn effigies of the devil to represent a clean break for the year. It is also a wonderful excuse to light fireworks and burn effigies of the devil. Supposedly the new start that the festivities represent is not specific in any way, but I am going to take it as an opportunity to not be as self conscious. I think a clean break is due in that department, at least until I start wandering around in my bathrobe in the afternoon, demanding people write down everything I say.

The stray dog was hiding out in the bathtub because every living soul in a three mile radius was lighting bottle rockets and firecrackers. If you are wondering, I think she made it out alright; last I saw of her, she was lounging in the garage, gnawing on a salchicha.

18 comments:

  1. That's an awesome tradition and a really cool looking devil. I can only hope he was packed full of explosives.

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  2. That is a really cool tradition. It reminds me of how I celebrate the 4th of July (Independence Day). Let's celebrate independence by blowing stuff up!

    One thing that I feel the need to point out. While the topic of the dog in interesting, I'm actually more interested in what changes you went through. You mentioned only a little bit about them, but the idea of this event changing you is interesting to me.

    ps. I'm glad the dog was all right. :D

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  4. I have never really tried this holiday out (despite me living in Guatemala) but it sounds really fun.
    Im also very curious about how your friend's mother found the dog and how she reacted!

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  5. This piece of writing is awesome since it basically tells you everything about La Quema del Diablo. It summarizes it in a great, thoughtful and organized way. Pointing out on what Min Hee said, I have never tried this tradition before as well, although it seems extremely fun. And it's definitely true. The whole city is burning fireworks at around 6 pm, if I'm not mistaken. There's a whole lot of sound during those moments, which makes the tradition even better.

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  6. Those are words of wisdom roberto MR A.B have you actualy celebrated it haVE YOU EVER SHOT SOMEONE WITH a firework on accident i have benn shot but luckily it didnt blow up on me i nhave celebrated it with my cousins my twin that day did shoot me on purpose i hve so much luck dont i i love this peace so much it brings so many memories:]

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  7. Hahaha, this reminds me of the day when a dog also came into my house. Coincidentally, it was the same day or at least around the same day that they burn the devil and make firecrackers. My point is that I think animals have this thing were they get scared easily when they hear or see firecrackers going on... If I were a dog i probably would do the same thing :)

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  8. Guatemalans tend to blow stuff up a lot. For almost every single holiday and just for plain publicity. I have done this about 4 times. I have accidentally hurt myself with explosives twice. The second was at Josh´s house when i accidentally dropped the thing. The bad part was that Josh and Josh´s Dad was right behind me. I am glad animals have the common sense to go inside during these holidays....

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  9. The last time(which also was the first time) me and my family celebrated Quema de Diablo with our neighbours, we almost accidentally set the forest next to my house on fire for blowing up stuff.

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  10. My dog gets reeeaaally scared with firecrackers! Once during New Year´s Eve, we got back home, and he had taken all of the Kleenex out of a box that had been on a table in the living room!!!!! They were all over the couches and the floor. It seemed as though it had snowed indoors. Of course we couldn´t get mad at him, cause the poor guy was still shaking, and it was hilarious!!!

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  11. Mr. AB, it surprises that you have been here for not that long comparing to how long i have been living in guatemala that you like a tradition like quemo el diablo. guatemala is a very spritual country you got to say.

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  12. Sebastian! I am so happy you actually wrote a fireworks MFP.

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  13. Svein, I can't believe you didn't tell me you set the forest on fire! That's crazy!

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  14. I also have seen the devil effigies in a street, but I didn't know the Guatemalan tradition. I thought nobody would buy the devil effigies. Next time, I should try it for a clean break of this year.

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  15. I always wondered what those devils were until I got to 7th grade... I was like 'oh... so that is what it is?' at first I thought they were pinatas for birthdays... but I was like 'hmm that is weird... a devil for birthday? the parents must have been exhausted taking care of him and just put a devil pinata to tell that he was that evil.' but never mind... now i know that...

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  16. I can't believe that that weird devil doll was for the Guatemalan tradition. I was wondering always what was that doll used for. I thought first is for pinata. Now I see. But, really, that's a cool tradition! I've never saw people doing it but, I want to do it once!! It might be cool!

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  17. I've lived in Guatemala all my life and I have never really understand what this event really mean or was done. I've always thought that it was a festival were people burned the devil out of them or the evil, but now I understand why is this holiday done. I never celebrate this but the only thing I celebrate on that day is my father birthday, which is on the same day.

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