Fiesta | Colombia

Carefree into the new year

A Colombian New Year’s custom gets the year off to a fresh start

A human-sized papier-mâché doll that looks like Colombian President Ivan Duque. It is dressed in a jacket, shirt and tie. Over the left shoulder is a sash in the colors of the Colombian flag.

In 2021, some Ano Viejos looked like Colombian President Duque

Every year in December, residents of Colombian neighbourhoods collect old clothes. They make human-sized dolls out of them, the so-called Año Viejos. These dolls symbolise everything bad that happened in the past year.

In 2020, many Año Viejos looked like Colombian President Iván Duque, who was widely criticised for his Corona policy. Over the Christmas period, you see the dolls sitting in front of the houses, usually with a bottle of aguardiente, an aniseed liquor, in their arms.

And when midnight strikes on New Year's Eve, there are countless bonfires and the dolls are tossed into the flames. That's how you make room for a fresh start into the new year.

As told to Gundula Haage