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Friday, September 2nd, 2022 at 8:31 pm

The incineration of a giant, screaming 50-foot-tall paper marionette nicknamed Zozobra, or Old Man Gloom, is a tradition that goes back almost a century in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  It all began in the 1920’s with a man named Will Shuster who built and then burned a six-foot-tall puppet. In 1964, the Kiwanis Club took control of the annual tradition. The puppet that is burned today is said to embody all the gloom and guilt built up over the course of the year.  All the burdens weighing down the community are lifted through the burning of the puppet, and you can start the new year happier. The burning of Zozobra also kicks off the start to the New Mexico Fiestas, filled with Pet Parades, chicken dances, and the Hysterical Historical Parade.

The easiest way to view the burning is online, but the in-person experience leaves you with unforgettable memories. Lobos can take the ATC shuttle from UNM main campus in the afternoon to the Downtown Albuquerque train station. Take the Northbound Rail Runner. Tickets are available online or in-person and are incredibly cheap for students!  After the hour-and-a-half train ride to Santa Fe, there will be a shuttle to greet and take Lobos to Fort Marcy Park. The best spots to view the show are on the baseball field at the base of the puppet. Fire dancing begins after sunset and the crowd chants “burn him, burn him,” as the puppet cries out for help. Zozobra is eventually lit ablaze to the enjoyment of an ecstatic crowd. After Zozobra is left as a pile of ashes, the crowd walks to the Plaza for the fiesta, Santa Fe style.