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 The Ecuador Chronicles - 2010-01
 
A New Years Tradition
          Burning Los Años Viejos;
                                  Don Juan Explains
           
Around the Christmas holiday period and leading up to the New Year strange looking doll like figures go on sale all over Ecuador.  They are mainly sold by street vendors - sometimes it seems they are on every street corner.  These dolls are up to three or four feet in height; they appear attached to the front of buses, taxis and cars - and in front of homes.  These strange dolls are referred to as "Los Años Viejos" - The Old Years.  Your Correspondent and Resident Anthropologist had to find out what this is all about.  Inquiring minds need to know.
 
Strange Dolls for Sale on the Street - Los Años Viejos
 
Don Juan Explains
 
Live Well Ecuador Associate Juan works with LWE travelers and real estate clients, and he does other projects for LWE.  Juan normally operates in a very professional yet pleasant manner.  Juan will most often be seen dressed in conservative business attire.  People who only know him on a professional basis will be surprised to learn that the mild mannered Juan excels in the Art of Fiesta.
 
We recently caught up with Juan at a New Years Day Fiesta taking place at the Finca of LWE Principal, Mathieu Guillory.  The normally conservative Juan was transformed into the relaxed, accommodating, and I must say fascinating persona of - Don Juan.
 
Don Juan Explains
 
I asked Don Juan about these strange dolls - Los Años Viejos.
 
Don Juan Explains:  "This is a tradition that goes back into the mists of time.  It is all about bringing the Old Year to a proper ending to be ready for the New.  These large dolls - Los Años Viejos - represent the old year.  The doll may be dressed in an old article of your own clothing - the old you is gone, you will be a better person in the new year.  Some of the dolls take on the appearance of cartoon characters.  Another variation are dolls that look strangely like political figures or other public officials - perhaps not meant completely as a compliment.  What ever the size, shape or appearnance, the dolls are burned at midnight to bring in the New Year - as in burning an effigy."
 
This happens all over Ecuador; my daughter, Jessica, was down on the Coast along La Ruta Del Sol - she sent me an email about her New Years Eve:  "Daddy, we watched them burn a doll! - so strange!"
 

A Cartoon Character
 

I Wonder Who - Only the Shadow Knows
 
 
Too Many Traffic Tickets - Here is the Answer
 
More Fuel for the Pyre
 
On New Years Eve at the Finca we had our own Año Viejo.  He was dressed in some of Matt's old clothing.  At the strike of midnight we struck a match and followed the Ancient Tradition - we burned out the Old Year.  I just hope everyone did a good job of this across Ecuador; it has been a tough year for many people around the world - the world is looking forward to a better 2010.
 
El Año Viejo at the Finca - in Matt's Old Clothing; Not Much Time Left for Him
 
Matt and Juan - Out with the Old.  Burn Baby Burn!
 
Good Bye 2009
 
Would you like to come to Ecuador and meet Don Juan; this can be arranged atLive Well Ecuador: