Peaceful Devil (by Elaine Eversley)

Peaceful Devil (by Elaine Eversley)

Carlos Chavarria as Major Devil (by Elaine Eversley)

Carlos Chavarría, the current Diablo Mayor of Portobelo, summarizes the role of the Devil this way:

The Devil in our tradition represents nothing more than the Spanish who was always abusing the slave with his whip so that he would work. They were always subjecting the Blacks to the whip, and that’s the part [of the Congo tradition] that they’ve directly maintained as it was; that is, he [the Devil] is the Congo’s enemy as it relates to the culture of the race. But when we look at [the role] strictly within the context of the Congo tradition, it’s the evil of man, the, that we search out amongst ourselves. It is celebrated on Ash Wednesday. That is when you can see clearly the fight between good and evil.
Carlos Chavarría, the current Diablo Mayor of Portobelo, summarizes the role of the Devil this way:

The Devil in our tradition represents nothing more than the Spanish who was always abusing the slave with his whip so that he would work. They were always subjecting the Blacks to the whip, and that’s the part [of the Congo tradition] that they’ve directly maintained as it was; that is, he [the Devil] is the Congo’s enemy as it relates to the culture of the race. But when we look at [the role] strictly within the context of the Congo tradition, it’s the evil of man, the, that we search out amongst ourselves. It is celebrated on Ash Wednesday. That is when you can see clearly the fight between good and evil.

Excerpted from “Prologue” and “Chapter Two” of When the Devil Knocks: The Congo Tradition and the Politics of Blackness in 20th Century Panama, The Ohio State University Press (in press)

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