GUAYAQUIL, ECUADOR: CLEANSING THE BAD, BURN BABY BURN

In Ecuador at the stroke of midnight, people around the country bring effigies of politicians, pop culture figures, and other icons of the year to torch in the streets. This tradition of burning the “año viejo” (“old year”) is symbolic of cleansing the bad from the previous 12 months before the new year commences. If you’re going for extra credit, you can even jump the flames 12 times for each month, although you risk joining the effigy yourself in the fire.
The tradition of the effigy burning is said to go back to an 1895 yellow fever epidemic that hit Guayaquil especially hard. That year people packed coffins with the clothes of the dead and set them in flames, the act being both a symbol as well as a purification rite. Now the figures that are burned are much more lighthearted and elaborate, with some towering effigies vividly painted and paraded through the city, while some families make due with sort of scarecrows stuffed with newspaper and covered with a mask purchased from one of the many street vendors. Before the evening’s arson, men will dress as the “widows” of the effigies and beg for money in mourning in the streets. http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/new-years-effigies-ecuador

But, before all of that, these effigies are displayed for all to see on the streets of the cities.

Below are the New Year’s Eve 2015 images from Simon Bolivar Avenida on the Malecon in Ecuador:

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31dec15. Guayaquil, Ecuador.

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