I’m headed off to Fiesta de Santa and the burning of Zozobra in a couple of days. Haven’t been in years – the last time I went to Zozobra, Johanna was little enough to require a babysitter. I took Zachary and went with my friend Patti and her son, Sam, and like everyone else, we sat on a blanket in Fort Marcy Park, eating all the junk foods we forbade ourselves the rest of the year – spray cheese, excessive licorice, meringues, chocolate milano cookies. . . It was our way of celebrating the end of Old Man Gloom. And then, at dusk, we stood with thousands of other people, watching the little devils and angels dance at Zozobra’s feet before the chant of “Burn Him” began. We shouted along with everyone else until we were hoarse, and then finally the torches found the hems of his skirts and he went up in flames.
For those of you who don’t know Zozobra, I found this qoute from the Zozobra website :”Zozobra is a hideous but harmless fifty-foot bogeyman marionette. He is a toothless, empty-headed facade. He has no guts and doesn’t have a leg to stand on. He is full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. He never wins. He moans and groans, rolls his eyes and twists his head. His mouth gapes and chomps. His arms flail about in frustration. Every year we do him in. We string him up and burn him down in ablaze of fireworks. At last, he is gone, taking with him all our troubles for another whole year. Santa Fe celebrates another victory. Viva la Fiesta!” – A.W. Denninger
And this one: “Fiesta has been celebrated in Santa Fe since 1712 by proclamation of the then-governor of the province Jose Chacon Medina Salazar y Villaseor, the marquis of Penuela. It is the oldest civic celebration of its kind in North America. ZOZOBRA, which has gone up in flames every year since Will Shuster created it in 1924, became one of the symbols of the city, a potent reminder of the madcap celebrations of those times and one artist’s generous dedication to his adopted home.”
I’m excited to be going back. Johanna, who has never been, will ride the Railrunner up from Albuquerque with her friend Bryan, while Sabrina and Bruce and Glena drive up to spend the weekend with me. And then, after Zozobra, we’ll dance in the street at the Plaza before we head back to our casita where we’re spending the weekend celebrating Fiesta de Santa Fe, which has been an annual event since 1712.
I’ve blogged about Two Casitas before – I found them one weekend when Dave and I were searching for a great place close to the Plaza – and I was instantly charmed by both Wendy Kapp, the Two Casitas diva (she’s in charge of everything Two Casitas) and the McKenzie Street Casita where we stayed, just behind the O’Keefe Museum.
When we started talking about going to Zozobra and Fiestas, I gave Wendy a call. Once again, she found us a fabulous home for the weekend, and because it was short notice, a bit(!) of a break on the price.
This house is amazing – I can’t wait to sleep there. And really close in to downtown Santa Fe. The city is a great place to visit in the fall, and the burning of Zozobra is so New Mexico! I feel like a kid waiting on a trip to Disneyland. . .
Thanks Kiwanis of Santa Fe for continuing such a grand New Mexico tradition, and thanks Wendy for taking such good care of us. I’m sure there will be more to tell after it’s all over. . .