Friday, December 25, 2009

Burning in effigy el Año Viejo

Much like the ball dropping in Time Square, Honduras and almost all Latin American countries maintain a tradition of burning an effigy of a man who symbolizes el Año Viejo (the old year). It begins about the first week in December when adolescent boys build a life-sized reproduction of a Honduran man using whatever clothes and filling they can find. The man is often overweight, drunk, smoking a cigarette and slouching with his face covered with a sombrero. They then masquerade around the mannequin requesting money from all. Adults and children alike place their one or two Lempiras (between 5 and 10 cents) in a two-liter plastic coke bottle as a gesture of support for what will happen at 12:00am on January 1st. In this moment, el Año Viejo who had been previously stuffed with firecrackers bought with the donated funds, is lit and the symbol for all of the bad that occurred the previous years is blown up and burned. This ritual of purification that may have origins with the Romans offers those involved a powerful tool to leave the negative behind and move forward with their lives.

In this time of renewal for many faiths and cultures, we wish you and yours a successful version of Año Viejo and the joy that comes from beginning anew.


Peace, love, and blessings,

Ryan, Elizabeth and Santiago

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