Historical Highlights for Santa Fe’s Zozobra

In1942 Zozobra was made to look like Emperor Showa Hirohito.

The image of Zozobra in 1942 was a political comment that would not be appropriate today. That year Zozobra had squinty eyes to resemble a person of Asian descent. Zozobra became Emperor Showa Hirohito of Japan. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 the United States became enraged with all Japanese. Internment camps spouted up around the country. Santa Fe’s Japanese Internment camp was located at Casa Solana, the first housing development built after World War II.

Old Man Gloom

Created by the artist Will Shuster, Zozobra “Old Man Gloom” has kicked off the Santa Fe Fiesta for the past 99 years. Under the supervision of the Kiwanis Club the giant puppet has grown to be 49.11 feet. In 2007 the Guinness Book of Records certified Zozobra as being the largest marionette in the world. Each year thousands of people enter Ft. Marcy Park to watch Zozobra burn. The spectators hope their sorrows will dissipate in the ashes of Zozobra and they can partake in the merriment of the fiesta.

Zozobra @ the Rose Bowl

This Fiesta de Santa Fe–themed float was the prize-winning float at the 1950 Rose Bowl Parade.

In 1950 Will Shuster created a float designed in the shape of Zozobra. Decorated with more than a million flowers, the float also featured the Zia Sun symbol. Fiesta Queen Anita Romero and historian Fray Angélico Chávez rode in the parade. A man depicting Diego de Vargas and hoop dancers from Taos Pueblo also participated. The head of the float had rolling eyes and a working jaw, smoke and groans coming from its mouth. The image was an exact replica of the Zozobra puppet featured at the annual Santa Fe Fiesta.

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