New year´s eve in Ecuador is the biggest celebration in the country and is marked by the tradition of the typical “Año Viejo” (old year) to make effigies. The “año viejo” is a doll that some people make themselves by using old clothes, filling them with newspaper and firecrackers. This is a family celebration and the tradition is passed from generation to generation. These scarecrow-like dolls are completed with a mask depicting a face. A variety of these popular handmade masks are sold on the streets and displayed everywhere and many people wear them during the New Year’s Eve parties.

“Los Años Viejos” are often depictions of a notable celebrity or politician who made the headlines, for good or bad, from the past year.

At midnight people get together around the “Año Viejo” doll for the final countdown and to light it on fire. The symbolic meaning of this celebration is to let go of the unfortunate moments of the past year and to look forward to a new start with the New Year.

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