Sept 10th - part 1 (video)
Today was Mum and Dad's wedding anniversary, and Uncle Marks Birthday. Despite that, we didn't actually see Mark all day as he went out to work super early, and we didn't get home until super late.
The reason was Zozobra. This is a 50 foot high puppet that they burn in Santa Fe on the first Thursday after Labor day. It represents all the "gloom" from the year that needs to be removed. You can put a piece of paper in a box (representing your gloom) to go into the puppet and be burnt with the rest of it. This year someone apparently put 600 wedding invitations in there - they had called off the wedding and wanted to forget about it! A couple of years ago someone put a straight jacket in there.
We all drove up to Santa Fe and caught the park and ride bus to the centre of town. Dad wanted to find a geocache, so we did that and then went to the baseball field where they hold the festival.
I was getting loads of attention from admiring onlookers in my carry sling - it was great rocking out to the bands they had playing (they were playing Oasis and finished with Sergeant Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band).
Just before it got dark mummy decided I needed a feed, which was a little intimidating with everyone walking round us - but Daddy tried to look fierce and keep people away as much as he could.
Then it got really dark and the festivities began. A judge came on and condemned Zozobra to death, then there were firedancers, light spinners (people with LED Poi), fireworks and load music and groans from Zozobra (also known as Old Man Gloom). He opened and closed his mouth, waved his arms and fingers about and his eyes flashed green.
All the while the crowd got more and more excited, and the shouts of "BURN HIM" were getting louder and louder. The puppet got more and more agitated until finally a firework shot into his head and set fire to his mouth. As he continued to groan, sparks and fire shot out of his mouth, until eventually his whole head was on fire.
They then set fire to his skirt and arms, and the whole lot fell to the ground to form a large bonfire.
I am told it was awesome to watch - daddy got very excited about trying something similar back home - but to be honest I fell asleep during the judge's speech!