About 30,000 people gathered in Santa Fe, New Mexico recently to watch the annual burning of Zozobra, a 50 foot tall marionette effigy. The event has been held in New Mexico for nearly 100 years and celebrates the burning away of the world’s gloom.
Back in the 1920s, local artist Will Shuster and a few of his friends decided to write down their worries over drinks and then burn them. And, the idea stuck. According to the current event chairman, Ray Sandoval, worries, also known as glooms, were sent in from all 50 states this year and 21 countries, destined to be burned under Zozobra’s large white skirt
"We’re going to burn away Santa Fe’s gloom tonight." he says, "And what better way to do it than with fire"
The menacing 50 foot tall marionette is stark white, outfitted with bright green hair, and a black bow tie, with flashing red lights for eyes.
"We have old police reports, arrest warrants from the Santa Fe police department, we have a wedding dress"
Leslie O’Toole says she’s been attending the event for years. And this time, she’s here to burn away her single status.
"I’ve just had it with being alone"
Other glooms were equally personal.
"Mine is hopefully, that I can find a job." adds Kim Montoya
And some, lighthearted. College student Kim Blacknall says, "I really want to get rid of my stage fright and insecurity."
Once Zozobra's skirt was lit, it was only a few minutes before this giant puppet and all of the year's worries were reduced to a pile of ashes, much to the delight of the crowd.