Monday, 1 September 2014

Letters From America: Labour Day Weekend Part 1

Hello Everyone, 

This is my first holiday weekend in the USA, and I started it off with a bang by attending the Sante Fe's Burning of the Zozobra. For those of you that don't know, the Zozobra (which translates as Old Man Gloom) is a 15.21m tall marionette that gets burned at the end of a huge ritual dance and fire routine to start off the Feista de Santa Fe. The Zozobra is supposed to embody the gloom, sadness and negativity in the world, and by burning him, you are burning out all of these things from the world. In the weeks leading up to the events, people can write down their worries or troubles and put them in boxes around Santa Fe to be burned with the figure. It is a huge festival now, with almost 50,000 people coming to see it every year.

So I headed there over to Santa Fe with a group of international students on a train that was so incredibly long for how close Albuquerque is to Santa Fe, it was almost as long as the train from Glasgow to Aberdeen! Once we got there, we waited in this huge field for the figure to be burned. And we waited. And we waited some more. Finally, the ritual dancing and flame work began. Music was blaring, but it was still almost obliterated by the groaning noise that seemed to be coming from the Zozobra. I think it symbolises the fact that he is supposed to be representative of all the negative energy, and that came out in the noises he was making. I'm not sure though. Flames, fireworks added to the showmanship of the ritual, and what pagan ritual is complete without a girl dancing around in a leotard under the glowing eyed effigy. Once the huge figure was burned, the night ended pretty fast, and we headed for some more long waits and an even longer train ride home. But I did enjoy myself, and I can now say I have seen the Zozobra burned.


Not the train we got on, but a much prettier one
Look at all the people!
I just love all the fireworks, they make such good photos
This is my favourite photo of the night! It just sums it up perfectly. 
This one comes a close second though!
Then there's this one.
And it's burning!!!