Author: Allan Taylor This article was first added 19 years ago to the Travel site "BootsnAll"; now I have added it to my Travel Blog "Rolling Stone" 4th July 2018 as it has important political significance to
Burning Away Misfortunes…..
By Allan TaylorNew Year’s Eve is always a night for celebration. In most countries people celebrate the coming of the New Year.
Symbolism is rife. The Old Year, or “Ano Viejo” is represented by various creations. A model house is made of branches and burnt to ashes. Life-size dummies, akin to our Guy Fawkes, made of sawdust and dressed in old clothes, are sold in the streets. Ornate masks are sold for adornment of the dummies.
The idea is to represent some happening, activity, or person, that has resulted in a negative impact on the community, or your well-being. Often this is a politician, judge, army leader etc, whose actions you disapprove of. The appropriate mask is worn by the dummy. A controversial political happening may be the subject of a very elaborate construction, which is put to the torch at midnight. What a great idea for
The creativity of the people is encouraged by having a competition for the best effort. In
The final day of the Old Year is lots of fun. Young people dress up as widows, witches and skeletons, etc, symbolic of the Old Year. They stop cars in the street and beg for a donation, which I suspect goes to buy fireworks. I approached a group of kids in fancy dress on a
“This is the President of Ecuador” they inform me proudly. “Can I take a photo of him?” I ask, slipping a few thousand sucres into an outstretched hand.
I admired a fancy procession of floats with pretty girls on horseback, that stopped briefly at a church for a blessing. Towards dusk, the centre of town around
Periodically I ventured down to street level for an empanada, and to see what was going on. Close to midnight the groups in the plaza below lit their bonfires.
The outcome of the burning is that it releases a great euphoria. Misfortunes and bad memories of the past year are burned away. There is a purification of one’s thoughts. The path ahead is made clear for new hope and happiness. In this moment, resolutions for the New Year are made. The old year has gone. There is hugging and kissing and tears. The celebration of the Old Year in
Regards from Allano