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World's Strangest Holiday Traditions

Quema del Diablo (Guatemala)

Aurora Photos / Alamy

La Quema del Diablo, Guatemala

This ceremonial “Burning of the Devil” is a prelude to the Guatemalan Christmas and probably a remnant from pre-Christian Mayan days. Because the devil and other evil spirits are believed to dwell in the dark, dirty corners of your home, residents are supposed to sweep up, collect garbage, and amass everything in a huge pile outside. After an effigy of the devil is placed on top, the whole thing is lit on fire, ensuring a devil-free Christmas season for all who participate.


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