Burning of Zozobra
The annual torching of Old Man Gloom, a giant puppet stuffed with scraps of paper bearing the citizenry’s sad thoughts.
Zozobra is a unique cultural event staged each year by the Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe as a fiery and exciting kick-off to the annual Fiestas de Santa Fe. The ‘Burning of Will Shuster’s Zozobra’ is presented annually the Friday of Labor Day weekend. Friday evening at dusk the people of Santa Fe, friends new and old, all make their way to Fort Marcy Park where the Zozobra pageant takes place. Located just a few blocks from the historic Santa Fe Plaza. Zozobra, also known as Old Man Gloom (OMG) is the inspiration of artist Will Shuster and was introduced as part of the Fiesta events in 1926. Shuster’s creation first appeared as a six-foot puppet and has since grown to about 50 feet. Made of muslin and stuffed with shredded paper Zozobra is an eerie, groaning, flailing character who appears to be part ghost and part monster. Amid fireworks and the ceremonial dances of ghosts and fire a growling Zozobra is set ablaze and it is said as the fire consumes the beast so go the feelings of gloom and doom from the past year.
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