Customs

Guatemala Celebrates Christmas with a Bang


#Christmas #Guatemala #Torito #BaileDelTorito

When it comes to Christmas traditions, you would have a hard time finding anything more memorable — or dangerous to your health — than the Guatemalan custom of the Dance of the Torito.

Christmas Eve is marked by a great procession and celebration. To add some color and even more excitement to this event, young boys will perform the Baile del Torito — the Dance of the Bull.

As marimba music fills the air, the boys lead the spectators in the celebration, encouraging everyone to join in with fireworks and sparklers. In case anyone misses out on this aspect of the evening, one boy gets to have a specially-made pyrotechnic device strapped to his back. When lit, fireworks and sparks erupt from his back as he continues to dance through the streets.

Author’s note: I spoke with a couple of friends who grew up with this tradition. They assured me that not only is it safe, but it is considered a high honor to be chosen to carry the fireworks.

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