The end of the year around the world is celebrated in many different ways, and as in many other countries, the New Year is synonymous with leaving the past behind and embarking on a new beginning. Thus, in Ecuador the year ends with the burning of the “Año Viejo” (old year) and the widow crying to her old beloved who says goodbye amid flames, having previously read the will that tells, amid jokes and satire, what the deceased is leaving as an inheritance before of being burned, but what is the old year? This traditional character is currently represented in many ways and is also known as a puppet.
At the end of the year, the puppets are found in the streets in droves, but in many cases, it is the members of each family, groups of friends, and neighborhood organizations, among others, who decide to make their own puppets themselves, reaching a consensus of which character or characters they want to represent, if it is a man or a woman, the most required being the representations of politicians and people of the national show business, others prefer to represent an animal, a character from a program on the big screen or characters from films of the latest releases. Anyway, whatever the chosen character, the important thing is to have an old year or a stick figure to burn at 00:00 on December 31 and thus receive the new year with energy, while we jump to the old man who burns, others hitting him, and others who forget the old man and prefer to make their digs to receive the year with good omen. The traditional Blackout of La Radio Tarqui, who counts the remaining minutes to say Happy New Year !, give us the respective hug, burn the old man to let go of everything bad that could happen to us, and eat the 12 grapes while they are counted the last 12 seconds, going out with suitcases in hand to walk the block that surrounds our house, and thus earn our most longed-for trip, are some of the activities that people do while saying goodbye to the year that is leaving and receiving the first day of the New Years, but not before wearing at least one new and intimate garment, which is most likely red or yellow, to get love or money, what a difficult choice! And then celebrate with a meal with family, friends, and/or loved ones.
We have told a little about the celebration, but we must tell how the puppets better known as old years are made.
Just after having celebrated Christmas, it is customary to start with the elaboration of our beloved old man or puppet and as everything in this life changes, the elaboration of these puppets is no exception, formerly the puppets were made mainly from paper or cardboard, then with old clothes that we no longer occupy, the cuffs of both hands and legs are sewn, and then they are filled with sawdust or straw, and finally, the final touch is a cardboard mask that gives life to the character we want to represent. At present the change is more noticeable in the characters represented, however, the most used materials are paper or cardboard, sawdust, flex foam, old clothes, or any other material that can be used to develop our imagination, in the puppets made in Guayaquil, Due to their monumental size, materials such as wire, wood, nails are used to give it stability, in this case, these puppets can cost more than $ 100. With the presence of the pandemic, its elaboration was modified due to restrictions, but the imagination of the people returned to give simple solutions that allow us to continue with the tradition, where many people chose to make or buy minis years old, designs to just print them. on bond paper and burn them in the living room or somewhere in the house, because the important thing is to say goodbye to the old year by burning it, leaving the past behind, hoping for better opportunities, health, staying with the family, hoping for better days.