A Westwind Community School
New Year's Celebrations in Galapagos
For those fortunate enough to spend the end of the year (Fin de Año) in Galapagos, it's a rare treat, and a lot safer than trying to spend in on the mainland. New Year's Eve finds the people of town all dressed in their Sunday best, strolling the boardwalk with their families, and looking at the monegotes - dolls dressed up as locals, political figures, or, this year, cartoon characters such as Captain America or Dispicable Me. Late in the evening they return home to often huge family dinners of pork or turkey with family and friends. As midnight approaches, everyone (locals and tourists alike) head for the Central Park, viewing the monegotes along the way. The Mayor is at the microphone in the park, giving the count-down to midnight, and then the fireworks begin- quite a display for a small town! Then there is music, dancing, and a lot of libations which continues until nearly 8 AM on New Year's Day. The monegotes are burned in the streets - sometimes with the symbolism of putting the bad of the past year behind, and many young or nearly-so temp fate by leaping through the flames to the cheers of onlookers. Some fill their monegotes with firecrackers, and so the tradition continues. Foreigners are welcome by all to join in the festivities, and stay as long as you want (for some of us, that means an hour or so- others all night). Everyone, except some of the dogs and sea lions, enjoys the time in Galapagos. On New Year's Day don't look for a taxi or even a restaurant that is open for breakfast, the town is quiet and tranquil. But as the day moves on, many stores begin to open in the afternoon, and by nightfall everything seems back to normal. For a few fortunate ones, like me, a late lunch is enjoyed a few miles up the coast on an incredible white coral beach.
- Director Tom, 1-2-2014