This year I find myself in The Guatemalan Christmas Spectacular.
What makes it so spectacular?
I’m not talking about a single night of pretty high flying fireworks but rather three weeks of incessant cherry bombs and machine gun sounding m-80s blowing up in every direction.
Although Christmas in Guatemalan is mostly about God, Jesus, and the family, it’s also about indulging in your inner pyromaniac.
The First Day Of The Holiday Season
Christmas seems to begin in Guatemala when everyone runs for cover under a barrage of indiscriminate fire missiles. This day is December 7th and is know as Dia De Diablo or day of the devil.
I’m not exactly sure what the fireworks represent and neither do most of the locals, but my guess is that they either help to ward of evil or mock the devil by avoiding being hit. Check out this video to get a better sense of the festivities.
The Weeks Leading Up To Christmas
If you happened to avoid being injured by fireworks, now is a great opportunity to light off the leftovers at anytime of day or night, in the countryside or on city streets.
Just be sure not to hit the nativity processions down on main street.
Like Scandinavia, Guatemala and much of Latin America celebrates Christmas on Christmas Eve. On this day, Guatemalans get together with family and often eat traditional fare such as tamales. Come midnight, they head into the streets again with their matchbooks and lighters for a final round of firework festivities.
Traveling in Guatemala during Christmas will keep you on your toes. One minute there’s Jesus and the next an explosion. One minute you’re at dinner and the next you’re ducking for cover.
Don’t get me wrong, I love fireworks. But when they’re going off without warning and for seemingly no good reason, it starts to wear you down.
Nevertheless, Christmas in Latin America is a Spectacular without rival and one I’m happy to experience. Now it’s time for me to start lighting off fireworks and reeking havoc on this quiet lakeside community of Panajachel Lake Atitlan.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!