El Año Viejo is a common year-end tradition in Colombia and other countries in Latin America. On December 31st, everyone gets excited about the New Year and its obligatory resolutions for change. Años Viejos are used in many places to symbolically leave behind bad things from the previous year. Traditionally, this involved burning effigies full of firecrackers or pockets of gunpowder, but for safety reasons, the practice has evolved into something less spectacular but no less important. Below you can find a video of how intense and exciting this celebration can be.
The Año Viejo is now crafted as a small doll in a tin. People take small pieces of paper and write all the bad things that have happened during the year. They then burn them and the doll in the tin as a symbol of renewal.
Some towns in Colombia and Ecuador host daylight parades on December 31st to show the effort and artistic talent that has been put into making the doll before it gets burned in the middle of the night.
There is a song about not forgetting the “Año Viejo” and being grateful for the great things in life. This song was composed by Cresencio Salcedo, a Colombian songwriter and made famous by Mexican singer Tony Camargo. The song is played all over Latin America during the December celebrations and and has been danced to for over 60 years! Below is a video of the original singer who never got to meet the writer of the song.
Yo no olvido al año viejo
Porque me ha dejado cosas muy buenas: Me dejó una chiva, Una burra negra, Una yegua blanca Y una buena suegra.
This is one of those traditions you can easily share with your students. Have them decorate their Año Viejo and have them think about what they would like to do in the future. I have a simple and fun activity where students put together their own paper “Año Viejo” and write about their goals for the new year. This resource is available on Teachers Pay Teachers. Please note that this activity doesn’t include an “Año viejo” doll.
La Noche de las Velitas is one of the most exciting celebrations in Colombia since it marks the beginning of the Christmas season. What a great opportunity to share this with your students and make it part of your class! I have written some blog posts in the past that provide more background and introduce you to some activities you may use to bring this celebration into your classroom.
Yes! I can’t believe! It’s that time of the year again! Smells like Christmas, one of my favorite times in the year. I am excited about all the new videos that came out on YouTube, and the best parts is that many of then include the lyrics which makes it perfect for a sing along. Some of the songs could be a little bit fast, so I recommend that you change the speed of the video on YouTube. You have to make sure you open the video on YouTube, once you are there, click on the settings icon, then click on speed and change from “normal” to “0.5”. You are now with a perfect speed and the song still sounds great!
Here are some of my favorite songs! If you have one that you would like me to add to the list, please share it with me in the comments.
It’s always great to have all these videos in one place! Hopefully this will save you some time. I recommend you take the time to watch the videos before presenting them to your students to make sure they are appropriate not only for their developmental age and level of Spanish, but also to ensure they fit your school culture. Watching the video will also give you time to think of important questions of points you would like to discuss with your students.
Videos to introduce or talk about this celebration in class
Global Wonder Series – I stop the video after second 35, you will see why!
El Día de los Muertos vs Halloween Click here to find version in Spanish
La Calaverita de Azúcar
Las Calaveras Have fun sharing with your students about this important celebration! Carolina