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San Bartolomé and the release of the Diablita

The figure of San Bartolomé in Buenavista del Norte

San Bartolomé, one of the twelve apostles (Bartholomew the Apostle), was the patron saint of Buenavista del Norte from 1561 to 1659, when he became co-patron along with the Virgen de Los Remedios, who acquired the patronage after fighting the devastating plague of locusts that devastated the town.

Every August 23, evil lurks, as the Diablita (little devil - strictly speaking a female one as it ends in an A) is released by removing the chain that this saint holds in his left hand to contain evil, while the bells ring. Formerly, for 24 hours the inhabitants of Buenavista abandoned their work, even in the fields, for fear of being attacked by evil. And, according to Ulpiano Pérez Barrios in his book Buenavista, estudio histórico artístico, such was the unfounded fear that some "came to affirm that by transgressing such a custom the devil had appeared to them incarnated in ferocious animals dragging noisy chains of long links".

The residents of this northern municipality say that during the day that Diablita was loose, wandering the streets, they did not go to the beach, or to the mountains, and they were especially careful when picking up a knife. At any moment the devil could make an appearance and you had to be alert.

In addition, young people from Buenavista will explain how their parents and grandparents threatened them when they were children so that they behaved well and did not let them do everything they wanted, for example, saying to them, "not today, if you go to the beach that Diablita can drown you".

On August 24, the day of Saint Bartholomew, it is the Virgin Mary who chains up the devil again so that he can no longer harm the townspeople, ending evil until the following year.

The image of Saint Bartholomew: The old image of San Bartolomé belonged to the Parish of San Pedro de Daute and, on August 23, 1562, it was transferred to the Church of Buenavista in procession by the will of the people to choose the apostle as patron. However, today that image is no longer preserved, as it was lost among many others in the church fire in June 1996.

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