Monigotes of Disney characters or politicians like the president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, are the protagonists of the New Year's Eve in Ecuador, where they are burned to symbolically leave behind the bad that has happened in the year.
While the fire destroys the most negative aspects of the year that goes away, many, most men, dress as widows to dismiss the "old man" who will not return, and ask the new "husband" his desires, while jumping on the bonfires formed by the puppets.
One of those "widows" is Déborah Meltrozo who, with her blue wig and tight suit, recalled that this way of saying goodbye to the year "is very Ecuadorian" and said that she asks the new husband to bring "plenty of prosperity, health and life for all".
From days before December 31, many companies like the one in Meltrozo celebrate their private parties to bid farewell to the period, in which they make their own "Old Years" -monigotes of paper or cardboard- representing peers, bosses, and even politicians who have not behaved well during the year.
But it is on New Year's Eve when the streets of Ecuador are filled with igneous floodlights that families light up along with testaments with litanies reminiscent of past events and future challenges.
"I think we light the Old Years to burn the bad energy, the bad vibes and the bad things that have happened to us during the year, and the fire will always symbolize a new beginning," explained Efe Carolina Cuenca while buying one of those Pinocchio shaped puppets.
He noted that many people buy Nicolás Maduro dolls or masks for this New Year's Eve, something that surprised him since in Ecuador it is common to burn effigies of local politicians, and considered that who deserves to be burned by the flames is the Ecuadorian president, Lenín Moreno , "especially for these new economic issues that are falling right at the end of the year."
Those who sell "Old Years" have seen that the character of the Venezuelan president is much sought after by the clientele, as well as that of former Ecuadorian President Jorge Glas, Moreno's own, or his predecessor in office, Rafael Correa, a classic of these dates
Precisely, Alfredo León, a Venezuelan emigrant who has lived in Ecuador for three months, told Efe that he likes the New Year's Eve tradition of the "brother country", which will be used to burn a Maduro puppet.
"We have a president who is not helping us in anything, we want him to leave, because we are increasingly low," he argued as the main reason for wanting to burn the figure of Maduro.
The "Old Years" are dolls that, in principle, were filled with sawdust, but with the passage of time they have been changing their way of making them into lighter materials and that they light faster, like paper or cardboard.
Precisely, one of the pioneers in bringing the cardboard model to the capital of Ecuador from the city of Guayaquil was the seller Miriam Guilca, who told Efe that since she was seven years old she is in charge of this tradition, first in the coastal city and then in Quito.
"It is much better cardboard because it is lighter, and makes less garbage and pollution," said Guilca, who asks the New Year to end the economic crisis in the country and "work for all people who do not have."
This tradition is very dear, especially among the youngest of the house that, according to the seller Blanca Lincanjo, are the ones who pull their parents and mothers to buy puppets with comic characters or cartoons.
For the end of the year in the Andean country, it is also typical to meet some cabal, such as wearing red, yellow or green underwear, washing your hands with champagne and sugar to call good luck, or bathing in typical herbal teas. of Ecuador, such as chamomile or cedron.
All this aims to celebrate one of the most magical nights of the year in any part of the world, with centuries-old traditions that each country or region enjoys in a different way, but that have as a common bond to dismiss the period that goes with all its bad things, and welcome the new one with hope and best wishes.