Zozobra Tonight in Santa Fe: Taking Away All of Our Worries


Zozobra is an annual tradition in Santa Fe, New Mexico that started 91 years ago.  Zozobra represents the burning and destruction of all your worries and everything that makes you sad.  The event will be tonight and my mother and I will be in attendance.  This will be my first year going and I, at first, was skeptical and thought that it seemed weird and bizarre, but the more I learned about the history and reason for this tradition, the more I came to appreciate it.  Zozobra represents a big bad ugly monster (many Christians may refer to him as being Satan) who growls and roars and tries to scare us with our sadness, our losses, our worries and weaknesses.  But tonight, that is all put to rest, no matter what your background, your culture, your religion or spiritual beliefs, we all have a need to burn our troubles and worries away and tonight is the night that Santa Fe comes together to burn their worries and losses away and allow their healing to begin.

As many you have visited this website already know, this past January we lost my father, John Hill, a devoted husband and father, and well-renowned game designer, specifically Squad Leader, Johnny Reb and Across A Deadly Field. My father passed away very suddenly and without warning. He had what seemed to be a minor problem with a bladder infection. He went in to urgent care on Friday because he was not able to urinate. They hooked him to a catheter and he felt much better, but the hospital wanted to “keep him overnight for observation” — it did not seem like a big deal. I spoke to him on the Saturday morning while he was in the hospital and he seemed fine. He was lucid and upbeat. However, that night, after receiving numerous pharmaceuticals, my mother said he was “luppy” and told her after waking up from a brief nap, “That was some party!” and then went back to sleep, never to awake again. Those were apparently his last words. Life has not been the same since then.

However, tonight we peel back some of the layers of the onion and work to begin a new healing process, by marching down to the center of town here in Santa Fe with my father’s death certificate in hand where we will deposit it into the “gloom box” into the stage where the massive beast stands.  The purpose of the “gloom box” is for people to place their worries and things that make them sad.  Items such as divorce decrees, foreclosure documents and as in our case, a death certificate.

It has been a very hard road for my mother and I this year, but tonight within the powers to be, we can begin a psychological and spiritual healing with better things to come.  Thank you again to everyone for our wonderful comments and support that you have provided on this website.  Please keep them coming as we love hearing from each of us.


  1. Duke (Bruce) Seifried

    Annette and I were trying to remember how many years it’s been since your parents were here this weekend for a visit. At that time, we went to the “Taste of Madison.” It was hot and humid, but probably not as much as it is this weekend. Whenever the four of us were together, we had a great time. John is missed by many of us. We’re glad you and your mom are going to “peel” some layers of grief away. Sending our best. Duke & Annette

    1. Stephanie (Post author)

      Hi Uncle Duke & Annette:

      Always a pleasure hearing from you. I asked my mom how long it was since she and my father came out to Wisconsin to visit you both. She could not remember either. At least, Mom and I were able to visit with you last year when my maternal grandmother passed away in Indiana. I am thankful we were able to see you and Annette. I was probably a little girl last time you had seen me until last year. And yes, we will always miss my father.

      Any more word on your work with the Chaldea: The War Room project? I enjoyed the online simulation. The best part, it is free and very educational.

      Thank you once again Uncle Duke for visiting my father’s tribute site.

  2. Zaini

    Hi Stephanie,

    I’m sorry about your father. The loss of the loved ones are hard to take. I experienced it myself a few years ago when I lost my father.

    Although I was not very closed with him, I do feel the loss. Until now I can’t describe the feeling and the fact that I wasn’t around at the time of his death just makes it worse.

    Anyway, I do feel for you and I hope you and your mother will be strong enough to go through it. I know you both are.


    1. Stephanie (Post author)

      Hi Zaini:

      Thank you for the kind words. Zozobra this past Friday was definitely the talk of the town. There were literally tens of thousands of people there. We got there early, but it soon became standing room only. Everyone was excited and it was definitely different as it was my first time going. My parents had gone numerous times, but this was my first.

      I am sorry also for your loss of your father a few years ago. Sorry to hear you were not close to him. That actually might make it even harder — not having a close relationship with him and feeling the regret of not being closer. I am sure the fact you were not around at the time of his death makes it much worse. My condolences go out to you.

      Thank you for taking the time to visit my tribute site. I do hope you will come back in the future.


  3. Gin

    Hi Steph, please accept my condolences for your loss. I wish you much happiness as you overcome this difficult episode and forget your worries at the Zozobra festival.

    1. Stephanie (Post author)

      Hi Gin:

      Thank you for the kind words. I am not sure if the Zozobra festivities really helped but the symbolic gestures were nonetheless something Mom wanted to do. Thank you again and please visit again soon.



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