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Historic Santa Fe Travel Event: Zozobra Fiesta de Santa Fe 2019

Historic Santa Fe Travel Event: Zozobra Fiesta de Santa Fe 2019

Old Man Gloom
Zozobra burns to usher in Santa Fe’s Fiesta Celebrations
  • When: Aug 30- Sept 8, 2019
  • Where: Santa Fe plaza or close locations (all walkable from Pueblo Bonito b&b inn).
  • Why: A great opportunity to experience first hand past traditions, beliefs, cultures while visiting one of the most beautiful, intriguing destinations of the  Southwest- Santa Fe New Mexico! 
  • How: BOOK DIRECT at Pueblo Bonito b&b inn (The choice for historic Santa Fe lodging when you want the most authentic historic adobe pueblo accommodations in downtown with free parking – walk to all events). 

Fiestas de Santa Fe has been held since 1712 to celebrate the Spanish retaking of the city in 1692 by Don Diego de Vargas from the Pueblo tribes who had occupied the city since the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. The burning of Zozobra dates from 1924. Santa Fe artist and marionette maker Gustave Baumann came up with the idea of creating the puppet also called Old Man Gloom. The ritual burning was conspired by William Howard Shuster a friend of Baumann’s.

“Zozobra” means “anxiety” in Spanish. Baumann’s inspiration was that of the Mexican cartonería (papier-mâché sculpture) which explodes during the burning of Judas (event taking place on Holy Saturday or New Year’s Eve). It was meant as a way to rid oneself or one’s community of evil.

Today’s modern rendition of Fiesta celebration occurs each year in Santa Fe New Mexico. As many as 50,000 people might attend the burning of Zozobra which kicks off the week long festivities. Zozobra burning is scheduled for Friday night August 30, 2019 at Ft Marcy Park (walking distance from Pueblo Bonito b&b, but far enough away from late night merrymakers!). Zozobra stands 50 feet tall. A traditional mass at St. Francis Cathedral for the Fiestas de Santa Fe celebration; a Children’s Pet Parade; and the Historical/Hysterical Parade; food booths on the plaza; arts and crafts and music all round out this festive historic tradition of local culture and tradition. Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe will build Zozobra again this year and burn him with firework display afterward. FYI: The Zozobra, burned on September 7, 2007, was certified by Guinness World Records as the largest marionette in the world (49.11 ft high)!

Santa Fe’s burning of Zozobra in Fort Marcy Park is traditionally held in September, however 2019 it is scheduled for Friday immediately before Labor Day (August 30, 2019).

St Francis Cathedral of Assisi
St Francis Cathedral of Assisi

Description of the Event of Zozobra: Once nightfall arrives fire dancers come out to perform. A “fire spirit dancer” also comes out dressed entirely in red with a flowing headdress and carrying two flaming torches, symbolizing Old Man Gloom’s arch enemy. She is accompanied by small “glooms” (children dressed in white) dancing alongside her. The fire dancer’s role is to scare away her little companions and represent the light that sends away gloom and bad energy. As the dancers perform on stage, Zozobra moans and groans while moving his arms and head in dread of his doom destiny. After the dance is completed, Zozobra is set on fire by the fire dancer via attached fireworks. Once Zozobra collapses a firework display ensues for on lookers to celebrate a new beginning.

Fiesta Fine Arts and Crafts Market (Labor Day Weekend) August 31 – September 2 on Santa Fe Plaza: Distinctive open-air arts and crafts market with booths that line the historic Santa Fe plaza. Unique hand fashioned jewelry, pottery, chic clothing, stylish leather, paintings, photography, handsome wood products, hand blown glass, and countless other items. Meet artists, discuss their work, take home a treasure!

Pregón de La Fiesta September 6 @ 6:00 am – 7:00 am Rosario Chapel, 540 Rosario Blvd: The faithful of Santa Fe gather to commemorate the promise made by Governor Don Diego de Vargas in September of 1692. Santa Fe Mayor Allen Webber will issue the formal proclamation declaring the start of the annual festivity (his speech includes original text from September 16, 1712).

Indian Taco
Indian Taco

Food Booths (Fiesta Weekend) September 6 @ 9:00 am – September 8 @ 5:00 pm on Santa Fe Plaza: Cruise the historic plaza for your favorite food: Chicharrón burrito, green chile cheeseburger, fried bread with honey, corn-on-the-cob, candy apples or cotton candy – all are favorites for fiesta participants and staples of Fiesta weekend!

Bandstand on the Plaza September 6 @ 10:00 am – 10:00 pm: In the Plaza Gazebo all of fiesta weekend features New Mexico’s most popular artists that amuse and entertain guests. Whether historic dances by Pueblo Indians, feather and gilded Aztec dancers, vibrant costumes by Mexican folklore dancers, or a drama performed by Matachine dances, each convey the rich cultural heritage of New Mexico. Traditional northern New Mexico music and mariachi fill the air.

Desfile de Los Niños (Pet Parade)Desfile de Los Niños (Pet Parade) September 7 @ 9:00 am – 10:45 am: Santa Fe families look forward to this annual pet parade. Desfile de Los Niños has been a tradition since early 1920’s with over 2,000 children participating in costumes which goes around downtown streets and the historic Plaza de Santa Fe.

Solemn Procession September 8 @ 9:30 am – 10:00 am Palace of the Governors: Procession travels from Palace of the Governors to Cathedral Basilica. Retracing footsteps of New Mexico’s ancestors, an image of La Conquistadora is carried from the oldest capital building in the US (Palace of the Governors 1607) to the historic Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi for a pontifical mass. This procession is part of activities called for in City of Santa Fe Proclamation of Sept 16, 1712 establishing Fiesta de Santa Fe.

Desfile de la Gente – Historical Parade September 8 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm: A popular event featuring local marching bands, mariachi, sports teams, queens, floats, and politicians of every color! Also called the Historical / Hysterical Parade, anything and everything goes!

Closing Ceremonies September 8 @ 5:15 pm – 5:30 pm Santa Fe Plaza

Mass of Thanksgiving and Candlelight Procession September 8 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm at Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi: Perhaps the most visually stunning event is the final event of the Fiesta. A candlelight procession follows a Mass of Thanksgiving at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi. Hundreds of participants make their way through the historic downtown streets from the cathedral and up the hill to the Cross of the Martyrs, where luminarias, a small festival or vigil bonfire, dot the hill and light the way of participants.

Guests of Pueblo Bonito bed and breakfast inn Santa Fe enjoy the authentic historic adobe pueblo accommodations which provide that one of kind historic Santa Fe travel experience. Don’t just stay in Santa Fe New Mexico, experience it at Pueblo Bonito bed and breakfast inn. Let us help make your next Santa Fe vacation a REAL HISTORIC TRAVEL experience! 1-800-461-4599

Pueblo Bonito Inn
Historic adobe pueblo accommodations in downtown Santa Fe.



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