Zozobra aka Old Man Gloom
- Category: Mis·cel·la·ne·ous
- Written by Nigel Aves
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Santa Fe - Zozobra
The Mythology of Zozobra
Zozobra is the enemy of all that is good, and Santa Fe knows only too well the spell of darkness and despair that Zozobra casts annually over the City.
This doomful specter is a monster who is created and is reborn annually because of our own nefarious and woeful deeds throughout the year. In order to lure Zozobra out of hiding, the city leaders invite him to Santa Fe's largest celebration, the annual Fiestas de Santa Fe. (celebrating its 305th year in 2017) With his enormous ego urging him on, Zozobra accepts this invitation, recognizing it as his best opportunity to invade the heart of town, destroy all hope and happiness, and rob the city of its most precious possession, its hope.
Zozobra appears at Fort Marcy Park, just north of Santa Fe’s heart--the Plaza, at the appointed hour dressed in his finest black-tie attire. Despite the attendance of the Fiesta Court and anxious to embark upon his sinister plans, Zozobra becomes disgruntled at the time he has been kept waiting. While the townsfolk gather, Zozobra casts a spell over the children of Santa Fe to come to him, driving hope and happiness from their minds and replacing it with gloom and despair––they become his minions, -Gloomies. He asks his now-faithful army of the down-trodden Gloomies to wreak havoc on the city. Zozobra knew the citizens had created this fraudulent party to capture him. The Gloomies begin his wicked plan, but a brave group of torch-bearing townspeople arrives to challenge the gloom. As if waking from a nightmare, the Gloomies children return to reality and scatter at the sight of the bright light from the torches.
Howling in fury and waving his arms, Zozobra manages to chase the torchbearers away, but his victory is short-lived when the crowd begins the age-old cry to “Burn him!” Called forth by the goodwill of the crowd, Zozobra’s eternal enemy, the Fire Spirit, materializes from the hopes, dreams and faith of Santa Fe's citizens. Once summoned, the Fire Spirit battles in the darkness to vanquish Santa Fe’s oldest foe. Waving a pair of blazing torches, the Fire Spirit dances, tormenting Zozobra, who shakes his arms in rage as he glares balefully down at his enemy. The crowd’s fervent desire to see the monster defeated is realized as the Fire Spirit sets Zozobra alight in a towering blaze of fire and smoke.
Under a sky lit by celebratory fireworks, the flames consume Zozobra, and he collapses at last into a smoking pile of embers. The crowd dances joyfully as they sing the Fiesta Song, and the centuries-old Fiestas de Santa Fe return to bring happiness and hope to the people of Santa Fe. Having vanquished gloom for yet another year, the Fire Spirit disappears into the starry night. But alas, gloom will rise again out of man's failings, faults, and selfishness to accumulate in the next year's Zozobra. And once again, the Fire Spirit must be summoned to overcome gloom in an ageless dance that mirrors the eternal battle between darkness and light.
Learn more about Zozobra here: https://burnzozobra.com/all-about-zozobra/
This years (2018) attendance was clocked at 62,000.