Tuesday, December 29, 2009

El Año Viejo

I know I said this last year, but this has to be one of my favorite Colombian traditions -- El Año Viejo. After Christmas, most Colombian families make an Año Viejo. The Año Viejo is a life size doll made of old clothes and stuffed with straw and newspaper (and fireworks). Just before midnight, people set fire to the Año Viejo. The whole thing is symbolic. It is burning the old and bad of the past year in preparation for the new.

We make an Año Viejo here is the US and stick it on the porch. I think the neighbors must wonder what the thing is doing there, but nevertheless, there he sits for a week. Then, on New Year's Eve, we all state one thing we want to leave behind while holding left over 4th of July sparklers. (Instead of burning the Año Viejo -- which would probably be against the law, we use the sparklers). Then, we ceremoniously throw him away.
Here is a link to last year's Año Viejo -- you can see pictures:

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