Burning of the Devil and Baby Chickens

Trip Start Oct 10, 2007
Trip End May 15, 2008

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Flag of Guatemala  ,
Sunday, December 9, 2007

Donīt worry, no baby chickens were burned but they were dyed a variety of colors including blue, orange, gray and yellow.  I found these while wondering the market on December 8th.  They were piled in crates and many children were wondering away with one or two chickens in tiny pink plastic bags.  They were all very excited!  With growing interest I asked two teen-aged girls standing next to me why these little baby chicks were different colors.  Giggling, they said they didnīt even know.  Finally I was able to find out that the blue ones were female.  That was about it, but the following day I saw a woman scolding some colorful baby chickens for escaping the yard into the dangers of the street.  Quite humorously she was sweeping them back into the yard with a newspaper where they wobbled away in a safer direction.

However, December 7th, the day before the fiesta of the Immaculate Concepcion, el Diablo is burned throughout the Highlands of Guatemala and perhaps elsewhere.  Many people burn their trash, pictures of unfavored politicians and, sometimes, of the grand oleīdevil himself.  While practicing my conversational skills, I asked mi maestro (teacher) what this was all about.  Quite practical I would say, it is a day to symbolically wash away all the unwanted happenings, energy etc. from the following year through literally burning trash, pictures and such.  All this is in preparation for the celebration of the Virgin Maria on the following day.  A day to start anew and with good tidings.
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