March 26, 2019

Burning the devil in Guatemala – American Way magazine

To spark the holiday season, Guatemalans roast an effigy of the devil. I wrote about the spectacle for American Way, AA’s inflight magazine. Here’s how the story starts:

The flames rise 30 feet into the air, casting a lurid glow on spectators’ faces. The burning effigy gives off a villainous stench, its acrid smoke engulfing the plaza. Bomberos (firefighters) watch nervously as thousands of Guatemalans howl and rejoice, stamping their feet and jumping into the air to get a better view of the demise of el diablo.

Sparks drift toward the Esso station nearby; the conflagration illuminates a sign above the pumps that reads “No fumar.” It’s classic Guatemala: You can’t smoke, but you can soak a papier-mâché demon with gas and light it on fire.

To read the full story, click here.

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