A Muñeca New Year


“There will be always something old in the New Year!” ― Mehmet Murat ildan

An old tradition in Nicaragua is to burn the ‘old year’. They collect old clothes, stuff them with dried plantain leaves and lots of gunpowder, and make muñecos, or old men scarecrows. Then, at midnight, they burn the effigies symbolizing an explosion of vices and a new beginning. A post I wrote in January 2012: A Molotov New Year

But, this year, I chose to explode old traditions and make a muñeca…a woman scarecrow.
IMG_1063Lauren brought an old shirt and shoes. I supplied the colorful socks and the pants. We made her head out of a Jicaro pod, painted gorgeous full lips and freckles. Lauren completed her head with fancy make-up, banana leaf hair, and a big lime green bow. She’s ready for a party.
IMG_1069But, wait! She’s not complete without her vices.
IMG_1068“What is her name, Lauren? She needs a name.” I asked. She thought about a name while we were raking the shredded banana leaves. “Laura!” she finally shouted. Perfect! If you live in Latin America, you may be familiar with the “Laura Bozzo Show” on television. Laura is kind of like a female Jerry Springer. She’s bold, bright, and beautiful. And most of all…Laura is a fighter. She fights for women’s equality in Latin America with a lot of controversy and conflict on her shows.
IMG_1071Laura it is! She’s too beautiful to burn on New Year’s Eve. I think she’s a keeper. I’m going to set her in front of my house for a long time…or at least until the midnight bandits try to steal her.  Maybe I’ll make a sign for her to hold in honor of women’s rights in Nicaragua.
IMG_1067There will always be something old in the new year…but this year, she’s female! Here’s to keeping the old traditions, yet adding a new twist to the story. May your new year be filled with love, acceptance, and honor. I’ll leave you with a few photos of muñecos that my friend, Cindi, took on the other side of the island.
bearded munecoblack faced munecodrunk munecopin head munecosunglass muneco

 

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