La Quema del Diablo: Guatemalan Holiday Tradition with Numerous Environmental and Health Concerns

Researched and written by Anna Kebler

The tradition of the Quema del Diablo, or Burning of the Devil, takes place in Guatemala every December 7 at 6:00 p.m., the eve of the feast of the Immaculate Conception. Effigies of the devil and material that ceased to be useful to the home is ignited in a ritual of purification in preparation for Christmas. However, the resulting air pollution has resulted in environmental and health concerns, with some arguing for the abandonment of the tradition and others for regulating and changing it to minimize potential damage.

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