Sparkus Illuminus (the Honorable and Exalted), the berobed, besceptered man on the stage is holding court:
"Santa Fe, it's time to consider the fate of Old Man Gloom:
- Zozobra, for being a hideous 50-foot bogeyman who scares the innocent children of Santa Fe;
- Zozobra, for being a menace and making our dogs howl at the moon;
- Zozobra, for haunting our dreams and upsetting our peaceful way of life;
- Shall we now send Zozobra to a fiery death?
- Shall we burn him?"
It's unanimous. Sparkus Illuminus proclaims Zozobra's fate:
- "I declare that on this evening, September 10, 2009, that Zozobra, otherwise known as Old Man Gloom, shall be dispatched by appropriate fire and ceremony.
- With the execution of Zozobra, we release all anxiety, suffering, heartache, and gloom of our fair city.
- Bring on the Glooms and Firedancers!
In past years I have written notes about a particular personal trouble I wanted to release. I have deposited that note in the Gloom Box (the contents of which are burned with Zozobra), along with other people's divorce papers, bankruptcy papers, mortgage notes, medical diagnoses--you name it--and felt the thrill of seeing all things troubling from the past year reduced to a puff of smoke, a spectacle of fireworks.
There's a time to let things go, to get over it already, to move on. Other troubles await us, but for now: Viva la Fiesta!
(The video is from a TV station in Albuquerque. You can't fast-forward through the opening commercial. But once you get to the Zozobra coverage, you can fast-forward through segments. If this ritual interests you, you might want to do that, to see the sentencing of Zozobra, some of the firedancing, some of the burning, some of the pyrotechnics. I'll warn you though. It's nothing like being here in person.)