|Remains of El Viejo, Jan 1, 2012, Merida|
It's a good thing I read about it on one of my favourite Merida blogs just a few days before I arrived, very late, on Dec. 31st. The tradition is, people stuff old clothes with paper and fireworks, then set it on fire right at midnight. There's symbolism that I won't pretend to know. I briefly saw a viejo propped up on on our street corner, from the taxi window, minutes before midnight. Once lit, it blazed and banged and shot out dangerous flares and shrapnel for a good long time, with neighbors viewing the spectacle a bit closer than seemed entirely safe.
Cycling around the quiet centre of the city the next morning (searching in vain for coffee and something to eat), there were remains of incompletely incinerated "viejos" all over the place. It was kind of creepy. I wonder if the unburned parts carry any special symbolism for 2012?