Miss Philippines Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach competes in the 2015 Miss Universe Pageant in Las Vegas, Nevada December 20, 2015. Wurtzbach was later crowned Miss Universe. Reuters/Steve Marcus

The Colombian man who posted the viral video showing him burning effigies of Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach and pageant host Steve Harvey has apologised on Facebook. Noider Almanza Barraza explained in his message that burning of effigies of controversial personalities is a New Year tradition in Colombia; according to him, he did not mean to intentionally harm anyone by his actions.

"The video that I uploaded to my social networks showing some dolls on New Year's Eve is a tradition of my country. We burned dolls of personalities who have caused controversy or been in the news in 2015 to leave behind what happened in 2015. With the burning of the dolls, we begin a new year,” Barraza wrote in his Facebook post.

Barraza, who was seen smiling in the effigy-burning video over the weekend, also asked people from the Philippines to forgive him for his actions. “At no time did we mean to hurt or offend the people of the Philippines. I am very sad and repentant because of the stir caused by the video, but I was not the only one who burned such dolls. I ask for forgiveness," he added.

He also made his Instagram account private after posting a photo of himself with the effigies. The video, which is still available online, caused quite a stir on social media.

The controversy kicked off on Dec. 20, the coronation night of Miss Universe 2015, when host Harvey mistakenly crowned Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez as Miss Universe. He later apologised and corrected himself, saying it was actually Miss Philippines Pia Wurtzbach who won the crown. Gutierrez recently revealed in an interview that she felt “humiliated” by the whole incident and had to grieve for it. Read more here.

According to Study Spanish, the tradition of burning of effigies is called Año Viejo in Ecuador and many other Latin American countries. “On the last day of the year, people construct effigies that might represent an irritating person, a disliked political figure, or even disappointment about past mistakes or unachieved goals,” says the website.

“Then, to a chorus of cheers and clapping, the effigy is thrown into the street and burned to ashes,” it adds.

Barraza's video went viral and not only angered many Filipinos but people from Colombia, too. Read some of the reactions here.

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