Sep 10 2010

Burn, Baby Burn: Old Man Gloom Goes Down! (The Burning of Zozobra)

Zozobra is a hideous but harmless fifty-foot bogeyman marionette. He is a toothless, empty-headed facade. He has no guts and doesn’t have a leg to stand on. He is full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. He never wins. He moans and groans, rolls his eyes and twists his head. His mouth gapes and chomps. His arms flail about in frustration. Every year we do him in. We string him up and burn him down in ablaze of fireworks. At last, he is gone, taking with him all our troubles for another whole year. Santa Fe celebrates another victory. Viva la Fiesta! – A.W. Denninger

Hands down my favorite “holiday” event, the annual burning of the effigy of Zozobra signifies the cleansing of anguish, anxiety and gloom- a symbolic purge of all that that is negative in our lives. In this way, I think of it as a kind of New Mexican New Year’s celebration. A tradition since 1924, there is nothing quite as exhilarating (if a bit disturbing) as standing in the crowd of thousands shouting “burn him!!”. For a full history of the event, visit the official website. While the images below aren’t quite as good as being there, we hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoyed capturing them!

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