Quema del Diablo

Posted December 11, 2008 in

While Christians love to get all huffy every December and try to claim full ownership of the month—crying bloody murder whenever someone else’s special celebration is mentioned (Christmas just doesn’t get enough exposure with all these Kwanzaa people running around—and what about those millions of Stars of David on all those houses in your neighborhood? Oh, there aren’t any? Hmm)—I’ve decided the best thing to do is stoke their fire. In fact, I have the perfect thing for that fire—the devil!


No, this is not an ad for Satanism—too obvious—but instead an introduction to a positively fascinating holiday tradition from Guatemala. Apparently, some of the folks down south believe that all year long the devil sneaks into your home and embeds himself into your piles of stuff: lurking inside old shoeboxes, slinking along underneath your bed, flitting through that old bin of newspapers in the corner—kinda like a dust bunny, but lots less lovable. And because you’re now swimming in an invisible Satan soup, Guatemalan lore states that December is spring-cleaning day for the dirt devil (hey . . . dirt devil . . . ), which means that you have to pull all that junk out of your firetrap without the help of two disgusted British ladies in yellow rubber gloves and toss it out the front door. And then you torch it. Devil begone!


Referred to as Quema del Diablo, or “burning of the devil,” this Catholic cleaning celebration is coming to the dA in Pomona this weekend thanks to Rolo Castillo, who apparently felt the holly jollies needed a counterpunch. Not that he’s going to set off a bonfire in the dA or anything—just show some tortured, comedic and demon-laden artwork, play some music, and imbibe a bit. I think. But I’ll keep my eyes peeled over there for massive smoke—and those two sorry-looking fundamentalist protestors who need to learn that other people’s holidays are just as important as their holidays. Didn’t they teach us that in kindergarten? (Stacy Davies)

Quema del Diablo, Music, & Procession at the dA Center for the Arts, 252 S. Main St., Pomona Arts Colony, Pomona, (909) 397-9716; www.dacenter.org. Procession begins at 8PM in front of the gallery. Show runs through Sat., Dec. 20



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