Quema del Torito y Alas: Guatemalan Christmas Tradition

Quema de Torito Antigua Guatemala

January’s desktop wallpaper calendars are now ready! These calendars feature what is known as the “Quema de Toritos y Alas”, a tradition in Guatemala dating back to colonial times. Instructions on how to download below.

***For a list of Events happening in Antigua this month Click Here***

Quema del Torito

This tradition goes back to colonial times. If you like – or don’t like – all the fireworks going off at Christmas here, thank the Spanish.

Quema de Torito Antigua GuatemalaQuema de Torito (Burning of the Bull)

The torito (means “small bull”) is a shell made of wood and wires and fitted with fireworks that shoot in all directions. Before the fireworks in the shell are lit up, a man picks up the shell and gets underneath. Once it’s lit up, the torito runs up and down the street.


Now, if you happen to catch this in Antigua at Calle del Arco, you’ll see a very tame version. The torito will walk up and down the center of the street, while tourists and locals happily snap pics.

The truer spirit of Quema del Torito is much more different. I’ve seen this tradition up close in a small town and it’s not a photo op, but much closer to the traditional running of the bulls in Spain, where it also originated.

Children and teens will taunt the torito and when the torito starts chasing, it’s time to run, as the torito will do his best effort to burn you with fireworks. It sure will get the adrenaline going. The good news is that no actual bulls are harmed during this celebration.

Quema de Alas

The Quema de Alas (burning of wings) follows the same concept, though I find it prettier than the Torito.

Quema de Alas Antigua Guatemala

Quema de Alas (Burning of Wings)

These calendars are available in a US-friendly format which marks Sunday as the first day of the week. National holidays (New Year’s Day and Martin Luther King Day) are highlighted.

To apply the calendar to your desktop, follow the instructions below:

1- Click on the following links to get your preferred version; each of these links will open a new window (or tab) displaying the wallpaper calendar in the screen size selected.

Quema de Alas:  1920 x 1200 -&- 1920 x 1080

Quema de Torito: 1920 x 1200 -& 1920 x 1080

2- Right-click (or Ctrl-click for most Mac users) on the image. Choose the option that says, “Set as Desktop Background”, “Use as Desktop Picture,” or something to that effect. Keep in mind that the exact wording will depend on the browser you use.

3- If the image does not fit your desktop background like it should, you may have to go to your Preference options. On a Mac? Go to System Preferences > Desktop & Screen Saver > Desktop. Using Windows? Go to Control Panel > Display > Desktop) and choose “Fit to screen” as the display mode of your background image.

I hope you enjoy them! Feel free to share with friends and comment on our Antigua Guatemala Facebook page.

Published by Rich Polanco

Fan of dogs + all things tech. Love a great pizza. My goal is not to travel to every country in the world. I only want to get to know my favorite ones REALLY well. Check out the big bio here. Follow @RichPolanco and connect on Facebook. Currently exploring: Guatemala.