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The Flaming Balls of the Immaculate Conception


Revelers walk past a discarded ball that came apart after kicking around the fire ball. Photo: Jeff Abbott/Comvite
Revelers walk past a discarded ball that came apart after kicking around the fire ball. Photo: Jeff Abbott/Comvite

Small fires burn in the corners of the streets around the central plaza of the Poqomchi’ Maya town of San Cristóbal Verapaz, which sits 203 kilometers from Guatemala City, hundreds of residents kick, pelt, and throw flaming balls at each other. The flaming balls are part of the yearly commemoration of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary on December 8.

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