“Build a giant man essentially, out of flammable material and write fears or things you want to expunge from your life for the new year. It’s usually done around harvest time. You write down the fears on pieces of paper and put them in the statue and burn it. It’s supposed to get rid of your fears and the bad spirits.”
The informant believes that the ritual has Spanish, Mexican and Native American roots. She learned it when she first moved to New Mexico by seeing it done at a Native American pueblo. The informant says that her school also does it every year with the 7th graders as part of a harvest fest, and there is a giant one in Santa Fe, the capital of New Mexico. The informant compared the burning of the zozobra (the statue) to the making of resolutions for the New Year. The practice allows people to start new each year and banish any of their own personal demons in a time of abundance with the harvest.