Sort of in front of a burning devil

By: goodislove

Jan 16 2010

Tags: , , ,

Category: New Mexico

1 Comment

This was supposed to be posted in December. I forgot until now. On this particular night we celebrated the burning of the devil paving the way for God to go out there and get Mary pregnant.

Here’s the write-up from my first run-in with this holiday in December 2003.

Burn the Devil

December 12, 2003

I was minding my own business on a calm Sunday night trying to figure out how to sum up my first week in site so I could e-mail my friends and family a nice, concise description of the beauty that awaits in Chiaval. But war broke out in Santo Tomas.

It’ll be a night I’ll remember for years to come. It started with a loud bang, which wasn’t surprising. After being in Guatemala for three months, I’d become accustomed to the fireworks that go off at all times of the day. Birthday? Fireworks. New baby? Fireworks. Sunny day? Why not celebrate with fireworks?

But the blasts were sustained and they continued as I slipped out of the house to see what was going on. I was slightly frightened. My family was no where to be found and it appeared as if a war had broken out in the streets of Santo Tomas.

I peered around the corner of the wall in front of the house and could see figures obscured in smoke and fires lining the streets. To my right more firecrackers went off. Bottle rockets, complete with report, whizzed past my head as I slowly edged my way into the street hoping to avoid friendly fire.

I needed to find out what was going on, but my cultural guides were gone. There were small fires everywhere  and a haze hung over the town. It was as if everyone had decided to burn their trash at the exact same time. I cautiously approached a small old woman tending a fire with a stick.

Surely someone of her age and wisdom would know what had happened to my peaceful pueblo. With ears ringing and head spinning, I asked her what the hell was going on.

She gave me a stare, smiled and then replied that she was busy burning the devil. In Guatemala, they celebrate the Immaculate Conception on Dec. 7 by burning the bejezus out of the devil. The fire symbolizes Christ coming to clean the world of original sin. Evil, I will not have you in my house. Thank you for coming, but with this fire and the help of the baby Christ child, I put you in your rightful place.

So anyway, the noise continued for about a half-hour and the next morning Santo Tomas awoke to find some of her beloved children blessed with burnt hands and missing fingers, but it’s all in good fun.

And besides, it’s worth it to get rid of the devil.

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One comment on “Sort of in front of a burning devil”

  1. I always squeal like a school girl when a new pic pops up on KIFOT! You, my friend, never disappoint. A glorious photo … and words of inspiration for all peoples who tote explosives.

    It’s useful information as well. Until now, I thought the only way to rebuke the advances of the devil was to beat him at playin’ fiddle.

    Now I know a Weber grill works too.

    Dig it.


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