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Old Year Dolls at El Valle


[Kids really enjoy making the dummy and then using it as a toy.]

Kids really enjoy making the dummy and then using it as a toy.


[Sometimes, the dolls come in pairs, such as this

Sometimes, the dolls come in pairs, such as this "mother" and her "son".


[These kids were still building their

These kids were still building their "judas" or "old year".


[There are also supermodels among the dolls.]

There are also supermodels among the dolls.


[Brothers and sisters, cousins, neighbors and friends join the task of building and decorating the Old Year doll.]

Brothers and sisters, cousins, neighbors and friends join the task of building and decorating the Old Year doll.


[Apparently, this pair was expecting to travel. They even had some cold-weather clothes and a packed bag.]

Apparently, this pair was expecting to travel. They even had some cold-weather clothes and a packed bag.


By:

Tamara Ponce
2008-01-05

As in many towns and neighborhoods in Panama, at El Valle, the locals also practice the tradition of building and then burning dummies made of old clothes and grass during New Year's eve.

This tradition is a way of symbolizing the breaking off with the troubles of the past year and the will to begin the new year with renewed optimism.

Children are the main participants in the building process and the often compete with neighbors to see who builds the best looking doll.


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