Explained: 'Burning of the Old Man' on New Year's Eve in Goa

Like many other parts of the world, Goa too observes a tradition of 'Burning of the Old Man' at this time of year, as we stand at the threshold of a new year.
Old Man 

Old Man 


With New Year just a few hours away, people in Goa are busy with last minute preparations for midnight mass and the party which follows. It's been quite a year, and as the year comes to an end, it isn't just parties which are common in this part of the world. There is another celebration that we, Goans, enjoy, and that is the 'Burning the Old Man'!

The 'Burning of the Old Man' is celebrated in almost every village in the state, on New Year's Eve. So let's check out what exactly this 'Old Man' is all about and what this 'burning' symbolises.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Old Man built at Pomburpa Arrao&nbsp;</p></div>

Old Man built at Pomburpa Arrao 

Roque Monteiro 

As the year draws to a close on December 31, one sees the local boys gather together in every village, as they fashion a scarecrow. But wait! Is it really a scarecrow? Not exactly! It's an 'Old Man' that they are creating.

The preparations for this are done on December 30 or 31 every year. The local boys get together and build an 'Old Man' using dry grass, paper, sticks and old clothes. When done, finishing touches are added to 'him', and 'he' is made to sit on a chair, or cycle, holding an empty bottle of alcohol.

The boys then display the 'Old Man' in a prominent location in their respective villages. And, there he remains seated, while loud fun music plays on, while the boys solicit money from passers-by and traffic.

The 'Old Man' is burnt exactly as the clock strikes 12 midnight. The 'Old Man' represents all the sorrows and bad that happened to us during the past year, and by burning the old man, we 'burn' all these negative things and start a fresh new year on a positive note.

Truly a creative way to begin a New Year! Happy New Year 2022!

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Old Man&nbsp;</p></div>
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