New Year’s Eve was a big deal in Ecuador.
A major way that they celebrated bringing in the New Year was through Ano Viejo’s. These were paper machete creations that could be bought at a number of roadside stands or made at home out of hay and other materials. These Ano Viejo’s ranged from depictions of political to historical to Hollywood characters.
|Anaiah, Eliana, and Teo posing with the Ano Viejo that we bought.|
The Ano Viejo’s were usually put in a stationary position with a house built around it out of tree limbs or they were attached to the top or front of cars.
It was customary to burn the Ano Viejo’s at midnight, hopefully removing them from the car before doing so, to symbolically burn away all of the bad from the previous year. While the Ano Viejo burned, the person burning it was supposed to jump over it 12 times, signifying blessings for the next 12 months.
Another “unique” New Year’s Eve tradition in Ecuador was for the men to dress up like women and collect money while doing so. One Ecuadorian explained it to me that the men who dressed up like women were supposed to be the widows of the Ano Viejo’s that were burned, and they were collecting money to survive. No matter what they said it was supposed to be, it ended up being a bunch of drunk guys dressed up as women jumping in front of cars to do a dance and then collect money to get more booze.
|enough said . . .|
Our New Year’s Eve celebration turned out a bit different than the norm, even though we tried our best to fit in. There was no way the kids or us, for that matter, were going to stay up till midnight. Teo still had a habit of waking up with the rooster’s at 5am. We burned our Ano Viejo after a couple of smore’s around the campfire no later than 6:30 pm. Prior to burning it, the girls jumped over it 12 times.
|Look at them jump.|
I was looking to secure some extra blessings for this coming year so I jumped over it 12 times while it was burning.
Rachel added a twist by taking apart the previous year’s calendar and burning each page. After it was all finished, Eliana and Anaiah continued to look for more things to burn and jump over.
|Adios Ano Viejo.|
Here is to another year that was and another year that will be.