Friday, December 30, 2011

Out with the Old and In with the New!

Ecuador has a unique way of celebrating the New Year!

Last week some interesting “dummies” started to appear on the street corners. I didn’t know what to make of it at first, but now I get it (sort of). 

Mark and I were walking back from Supermaxi  on Wednesday and I made the comment, “It looks like some folks are making good use out of old clothes!”

Not really!

In Ecuador, New Year’s Eve is celebrated with “años viejos” (old years) and in with the “Año Nuevo” (New Year). Ecuadorians take figurines (dummies) stuffed with paper, sawdust and sometimes firecrackers and display them on the streets. Some of the dummies represent political  figures, international personalities, cartoon figures, and sometimes—terrorists. On New Year’s Eve, these stuffed dummies are set on fire. Some folks jump the gun and start setting fire to the dummies before New Year’s Eve! To put it simply: the dummies represent the “old year.” 

So I guess if you had a really bad year at work, you can dress up a dummy like your boss and start the New Year out right!

We’ve also seen some peculiar “dressing up” as well (almost like Halloween) and some folks dress in black. I’m told they act as the old year’s “widow.” They move along the street asking for candy or money and then kick the dummy before it’s burned.

The student we are tutoring this month tried to explain the whole process, but I guess we’ll have to experience it in person! The reasoning behind kicking and burning the dummy  is to ensure a good year if you’ve had a bad one.

We’ve been warned in advance that we can plan on not getting much rest on New Year’s Eve and so we’ve already lined up some good movies on DVD and we’ll plan on spending a “quiet” evening at home.

So tonight (for the second time in one week), we saw Mission Impossible 4 on the Big Screen at the Milenium Plaza (tickets were $4.60 per person). It was all in Spanish, but with Tom Cruise—who needs much translating!

Thankfully, there isn’t much we want to “kick” out of this year; it’s been a good one all around!

Próspero Año Nuevo!

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