Goodbye to the Old Years: The Ano Viejos in Ecuador!

It's not at all uncommon to see the young Ecuadorian men near the speedbumps at every road, dressed up like women looking for a few extra coins to buy party drinks on New Year's Eve. For a quarter each, these guys gave me a pretty good show.

It’s not at all uncommon to see the young Ecuadorian men near the speed bumps at every road, dressed up like women looking for a few extra coins to buy party drinks on New Year‘s Eve. For a quarter each, these guys gave me a pretty good show.

In Denmark, they break dishes.

In the Philippines they wear polka-dots.

In Ecuador it seems we burn “scarecrows” at midnight.

It’s a cultural New Year’s tradition we’ve just learned, and it really brightens up the roadways in the last days leading up to New Year’s Day.

Since Thursday or so, Dana and I have noticed colorful papier mache-like characters everywhere. The Hulk. Sponge Bob. Minnie Mouse. You name it. Strapped to vehicles driving down the road, on moto-taxis, prominently adorned on peoples’ homes. They are everywhere, and are called ano veijos “the old years.”

These colorful characters are everywhere, and to the Ecuadorian people, represent all the old problems of the past year. They are burned at midnight as a way to represent a fresh start.

And depending on how much one’s had to drink depends on exactly where, and how, it is burned. Some have told us they can be seen burning on cars as they drive down the road as the clock approaches midnight. Can’t wait to see that.

DSC_0287New Year's Eve in Ecuador

Minnie Mouse, and an Ecuadorian soccer player sponsored by Pilsner, pretty much the national beer of choice.

Minnie Mouse, and an Ecuadorian soccer player sponsored by Pilsener, pretty much the national beer of choice.

This poor guy's strapped on with a measuring tape.

This poor guy’s strapped on with a measuring tape.

New Year's Eve in EcuadorNew Year's Eve in Ecuador

New Year's Eve in EcuadorNew Year's Eve in Ecuador

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