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Happy New Year!

Dear Members and Constituents,
Happy new year! If you’re like me, you may still be recovering from your New Year's Eve celebration. You see, as some of you already know, Ecuadorian New Year's Eve celebrations are a pretty big deal –and my household has imported most of these traditions for our New Year's Eve party. Above and beyond the ten second countdown and the festive party libations, we have a few other quirky traditions. There's the widow –a man dressed like a woman who pesters bystanders with “mourning” for the old year (her husband) who is about to die. Then there's the reading of the will (chock-full of humorous "inheritances" for guests and relatives). The most visible of these traditions is the Año Viejo (literally "old year"). It's one or more manikins which anthropomorphize the ending year and gets burned at the stroke of midnight. As adults wish each other well and eat 12 grapes to symbolize good fortune, younger folks jumped over the embers of the fire for luck. Our Año Viejo this year was a Maya technician working to repair the malfunctioning calendar (which was adorned with icons of events that happened in 2012). I thought I'd share some photos with you this morning (how many symbols you can recognize?)

The Widow (photo courtesy of Khou Huynh)
Año Viejo
Burn baby Burn!
Just for Luck (photo courtesy of Khou Huynh)
Speaking of traditions, the Friday Donut Club will turn nine this year and Gavin McKelvey makes his debut as donut boy with an alluring selection of Krispy Kremes. Come share your new year's celebration stories (or if not at least share in some sweet pastries).
Happy Friday!

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