Hotel For the Burning of Zozobra Festival

Labor Day is steadily marching nearer, a date that doesn’t merely herald the closing weeks of summer but, in our fair (and old) city of Santa Fe, New Mexico, also means one of the country’s most unique community rituals is fast approaching. This year marks the 94th annual Burning of Zozobra, which goes down during the centuries-old Las Fiestas de Santa Fe on Friday, August 31st at Fort Marcy Park just a hop, skip, and a jump from La Posada de Santa Fe.

“Must-see” is an overused descriptor, we admit, but it most definitely applies to this fiery night wherein good once again triumphs over evil. Come join us for the occasion, a touchstone of the Santa Fe cultural calendar!

Introducing Old Man Gloom

Back in the 1920s, Will Shuster—a member of the local artist collective Cinco Pintores—introduced the City of Santa Fe to Zozobra, aka Old Man Gloom: a 50-foot-tall marionette with shadow-rimmed glowing eyes who’s some sort of skyscraping hybrid of ghost and monster. Shuster’s creation, inspired by the Holy Week traditions of Mexico’s Yaqui people, is said to be the embodiment of all the bad things we’ve collectively done throughout the year. Each year, Santa Fe tricks Zozobra with an invitation to its great Fiesta, and the giant ghoul eagerly accepts—ready to pillage the community of all its hope.

Zozobra cuts quite the striking and fearsome appearance when he arrives after dark in Fort Marcy Park: green-haired, sharp-nailed, and decked out in a white and purple tuxedo for the occasion. His approach—so the time-honored story goes—converts Santa Fe’s children to a horde of “Gloomies” intent on helping him take over town, but the torch-light of brave townspeople wrecks the spell and frees them before they run completely amok.

Old Man Gloom still struts forth with sinister confidence, but he’s the doomed one: destined to go up in flame courtesy of the good Fire Spirit conjured by the festivalgoers’ positivity. And up in flame Zozobra does go: a spectacle cheered on by the happy and victorious crowd, and one you’ll never forget!

Of course, the Burning of Zozobra is only the end of Old Man Gloom for the time being: Rest assured the dark side and failings of humanity will draw him forth again in 2019—only to meet his maker once more at the hands of the Fire Spirit. It’s “an ageless dance that mirrors the eternal battle between darkness and light,” as the event’s official website describes.

Join Us at La Posada de Santa Fe for the 2018 Burning of Zozobra

Zozobra’s spectral arrival takes place around 9:30 PM on the 31st, but it’ll be preceded by plenty of festivities, including live entertainment getting underway at 7 PM.

You’ll have easy access to the Burning of Zozobra grounds at Fort Marcy Park with a luxury room or suite here at La Posada de Santa Fe. We invite you to partake of the singular amenities and services here at the Art Hotel of Santa Fe while you embrace the hopeful side of things at Old Man Gloom’s spectacular flameout!

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