Hispanic New Year's Eve with The Traditional Puppet

Actualizado: 22 de oct de 2020

The old year is a giant figure made of old clothes, stuffed with cardboard, straw, powder and sawdust. Families and close friends make these giant puppets to participate in local pageants and parades. In the satirical procession of the deceased old year there are always: a widow, a mourner, a testament and a troupe. It is known they want to represent

the most significant events and characters of the year. Commonly, the characters are related to politics, entertainment and sports.The old man´s creation and exhibition ends with the burning on 31st of December. Before or after burning it, people make a list of the positive and negative things of the year to dismiss what they do not expect and want to receive from the new year.

Its origin dates back to European pagan celebrations such as the Roman Saturnalia and Celtic rituals in Spain. The burning of the puppet represents the catharsis of the year, the purification and elimination of the past negative things. In Ecuador, the Old Year´s festival became popular in 1895 due to the Eloy Alfaro´s government had a high rate of deaths caused by the outbreak of yellow fever. People began making bundles of straw with the clothes of their dead relatives to burn them on the last day of the year and drive away plague and despair; perhaps we should do the same this year 2020 to say farewell to the COVID-19.

In another article on this blog I mentioned that" artists should use new technologies to change the world in a positive way." I hope the small version of old year puppet´s catalog can reach that change we long for.

Burning the Envious Witch...

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