Every year, without fail, the neighbours of Barrio Concepción in La Antigua Guatemala burn the devil to a crisp. The now-dwindling Guatemalan tradition of setting ablaze a devil-shaped piñata along with a pile of trash at exactly 6PM in order to “purify” people’s homes remains strong in this neighbourhood. The President of the Events Committee of Barrio Concepción, Vitelio Contreras, refers to it as an “ecological burning of the devil,” as they only set fire to a single piñata in town.
The design of the piñata is often rather elaborate. According to the artists behind it, it is supposed to satirise recent events in La Antigua Guatemala. This is often a source of controversy. For instance, last year, the devil piñata resembling La Antigua Guatemala’s mayor, Susana Asensio, was removed by the authorities without any explanation. It was briefly replaced by a baby devil piñata with a sign saying something along the lines of “They’ve kidnapped my mommy”. Eventually, the she-devil was returned, and burned alongside a Donald Trump piñata.
This year, for reasons unknown, the seemingly normal-looking devil piñata was tossed over and broken by vandals on a random morning at around 7AM. The artists removed the devil to repair it, and it was temporarily replaced by another baby devil with a sign that read “last year they kidnapped my mom, and this year they beat up my dad.” Keeping with the tradition of being sarcastic as hell, the artists repaired the devil and added a cast and some bandages to make it seem as though he had just come out of the hospital.
According to Mr. Contreras, this is the 26th time that this event takes place in La Antigua Guatemala, and 6000 to 7000 people are expected to show up to watch the devil burn.