Tag Archives | Effigy

The Burning of Zozobra and Other Scapegoat Rituals

Burning of ZozobraThe 89th annual Burning of Zozobra, a 50 foot effigy of “Old Man Gloom,” was staged last Thursday in Santa Fe, NM.  The ceremony is a part of the Fiestas de Santa Fe, a festival celebrating the 1692 reconquest of the city by Spanish colonists in 1692.  My wife and I were planning on going this year, since we only live about an hour away, but a combination of heat, laziness, and the newest episode of Breaking Bad kept us at home in the air-conditioning.  Over 30,000 people showed up to the burning this year.  We weren’t missed.

Zozobra (named after the Spanish word meaning “anxiety”) was created by local artist Will Schuster in 1924.  The original was a 6 foot tall marionette, constructed of cloth and wood, which represented the worries and difficulties of the residents of Santa Fe.  Schuster received his inspiration from a ritual practiced by the Yaqui people of Mexico, known as the Burning of Judas.  This ritual was performed during the week of Easter as a part of the Passion Play, in which the effigies of Judas and other villains was hanged on Good Friday and burned on Easter Sunday.… Read the rest

Continue Reading