“On New Years Eve in Colombia, all the families will build a stuffed doll together. It is filled with old clothes that you’ve grown out or old sheets and pillowcases. My family also writes slips of paper with our bad habits or mistakes and throw those inside the doll, too. It is kind of like a New Years Resolution but the opposite. They are things you want to rid yourself of. After you put everything in the dummy figure, you either tie it with firecrackers or put firecrackers inside of it. On the stroke of midnight, you set off the fireworks with a match. All through the streets, you can see everyone’s dolls blowing up and firecrackers going off. It’s very loud, bright, and colorful everywhere. It’s a celebration of a new beginning.”
The transition from one year to the next is a subliminal time. That being said, many traditions revolve around New Years Eve and the moment the clock strikes twelve and the New Year is upon us. My informant grew up in Colombia and celebrated New Years Eve with friends and family every year. The day of New Years Eve, my informant’s house, along with most other Colombian households, were buzzing with food preparation and doll making. My informant said his favorite part of New Years Eve was watching the firecrackers blow up the doll.
This celebration is very symbolic of a new beginning. When the doll blows up with the firecrackers, the old sheets, clothes, and slips of paper with bad habits blow up with it. This is a representation of getting rid of the old year and all the bad luck that came with it, preparing your household and family for the new year. Firecrackers are used in many cultures to contact dead ancestors or the Gods in the heavens. Therefore, I believe that the firecrackers may also be used to notify either ancestors or Gods that a new year is upon the Colombians, and that they are ready for a year of good luck and success. Beyond that, a celebration of firecrackers in the streets and children running around and rejoicing is a way to show all of Colombia coming together to celebrate during a special time.