Thursday, September 10, 2009

Burn Him! Burn Him! Burn Him!

Today begins Fiestas de Santa Fe, a celebration of the "peaceful retaking" of the city by Spanish colonist that goes through the weekend. There is food, music, arts & crafts, processions, religious ceremonies and the burning of Zozobra. Tonight Thomas and I went to a little party at Diane and John's house. They live about two blocks from Fort Marcy Park where Zozobra meets his doom. Zozobra (aka Old Man Gloom) is a marionette that stands between 40' and 50' tall. He is made of wood and muslin and is stuffed with shredded paper. That paper contains the worries and troubles from the previous year. Some people even put in divorce papers and other legal documents to burn. We started the night with appetizers and drinks and conversation. Then we had a great dinner that Diane and John cooked and more conversation. While we had dessert we watched what was happening with Zozobra on TV and when it got closer to the time for him to burn we made our way to the field. The crowd seemed more subdued than in past years that I have attended the event. But there was still a kind of energy in the air and when the lights went out and the ceremony started the crowd livened up a bit. There is a fire dancer and gloomies. The fire dancer drives the gloomies away from the base of Zozobra so that he can burn and take the gloom from the previous year with him. Then the crowd starts chanting "Burn Him!" and eventually he starts to burn - it only takes a couple of minutes for him to burn completely - but that is enough to give the crowd a fresh start for another year. Then there is a pretty good fireworks show - we watched the fireworks as we walked back to the house. We then sat and talked for a little while so we could let the traffic lighten up a bit before we headed home. We had a great time and I really enjoyed seeing Zozobra again. Click on the picture to see a slide show of the event.

Addendum: The Santa Fe New Mexican ran an article on September 11 about the burning and they called it Zozo's Last Stand.

No comments :