Santa Fe, New Mexico: The Burning of Zozobra

Every September, a 100-foot-tall paper man, stuffed with sad notes from Santa Fe townspeople is set afire on a hill overlooking the city.

Old Fort Marcy Park

Address:
Paseo De Peralta, Santa Fe, NM
Directions:
I-25 exit 278. North on Cerillos Rd into the city, then turn right on Paseo De Peralta and take it east and then north to Old Fort Marcy Park.
Hours:
Annual Sep. event.
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Burning of Zozobra

I got a kick out of your zozobra item. However, zozobra is not a balloon! Zozobra, also known as old man gloom is a paper and wood sculpture. Zozobra is a spanish word and translates as something like sorrow or misery. The burning of Zozobra symbolizes the burning up of the years accumulated misery.

[Chris Worth, 12/02/1998]
Burning of Zozobra

One of the strangest sites I have ever seen was when I was in Santa Fe, NM. Each fall (early September), during the annual "Fiesta," the people of Santa Fe gather together for the burning of Zozobra (pronounced: zoe-ZOE-bruh). Zozobra is a giant balloon (at least 100 feet high) which looks a lot like Mr. Bill from Saturday Night Life fame. They set Zozobra up on top of a hill so that he can be seen by all. Then people in white sheets perform ritual dances around Zozobra for about a half-hour while Zozobra "moans" (speakers echoing the moans of Zozobra can be heard all over town). At the end of the dancing, several more people with white sheets come out and do more dancing around the base of Zozobra holding torches -- then they set him on fire. If you want to go to Santa Fe to see this spectacle, make your reservations at least 1 year in advance (for real!!).

The burning of Zozobra takes place off of Paseo De Peralta. (Take I-25 to Santa Fe, get off at Cerillos Rd- go right on Paseo De Peralta).

[Brett Spigelman, 11/24/1998]

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