While having dinner with some friends, a particular image came up to my mind, without any reason. It's about a Venezuelan custom called Año Viejo (Old Year), which is represented by something similar to a straw man, human size, dressed in rags, filled with sawdust, straw or any material available. Generally, people place it at the main door of the house or tied to a street pole. At midnight of December 31, Año Viejo is burned, where fire purifies the past, represented by the ending year, and opens paths for the upcoming year.
After some online research, I found out that this tradition is a cultural part of several South American countries like Colombia and Ecuador. In Venezuela, it’s a typical custom of the Andean towns and some other states of the country, however, the tradition has diminished because nobody has the time to do it or people simply find it boring nowadays.
During my childhood, each year one of the neighbors placed Año Viejo tied to a street pole, from December 1 until the burning day, which was on December 31. Over the years, this neighbor stopped making them because of her age and some of these were stolen, so it’s a shame this tradition declined.
I loved looking out of the window to see Año Viejo there, with a hat under the relentless sun of the Venezuelan plains. It was easy to become fond of this after watching it for a whole month, and its burning used to wake up a sudden longing for the past because, come on, sometimes Old Years aren’t as bad as they seem.
My best wishes for all of you, prosperity and happiness embrace you during the whole upcoming year 2015!!!