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Quema de Judas as part of Mexico’s Easter Festivities

Effigies of local figures
Effigies of local figures

CC photo by Larry&Flo courtesy of Flickr

Quema de Judas translates in English to, “the burning of Judas”. The ritual takes place starting on Good Friday and running through the weekend. Although not technically a part of Easter festivities as condoned through the church, the festivities have become tradition in much of Mexico down through Central and South America. It is even celebrated around the world in Greece, Portugal and Cyprus, although much controversy can be connected to the celebrations.

Exploding Judas
Exploding Judas

CC photo by Larry&Flo courtesy of Flickr

Traditionally, figures of Judas are hung throughout town and then either burned or exploded at a later time. It has become quite popular to make figures of local politicians, leaders and other significant characters who are deemed unpopular by the masses. The figures are first hung and then later burned or exploded.

Mid explosion
Mid explosion

CC photo by aficiomaquinas courtesy of Flickr

While some may criticize the celebration as violent and anger-inducing, it rarely results in inappropriate behavior and actually can have a cathartic effect on people in attendance. The burning symbolically destroys the things, people and politics that can enrage so many of the locals. Since many are at a loss to make much of a difference, they feel they are able to act out in a non-threatening and safe way, through the burning/exploding effigies.

Quema de Judas
Quema de Judas

CC photo by Mabel Flores courtesy of Flickr

It is becoming more popular to make effigies into a fireworks shows destroying the effigy, while producing an amazing light show. This seems to lighten the destruction, especially for children and families. It also allows those who may not practice the Christian faith to enjoy a simple fireworks display regardless of the reasoning behind it.

It should be noted that there continues to be controversy surrounding the celebrations, mostly in other countries outside of Mexico. In Mexico, however, the celebrations are becoming quite popular tourist attractions and are bringing back the effigies to towns that had stopped celebrating this particular and non-traditional part of Easter. If visiting Mexico during the Easter holiday, this is one celebration worth partaking.

2 Responses to “Quema de Judas as part of Mexico’s Easter Festivities”


  1. Nanker Phelge says:

    I dont see any Obama effigys. Maybe it will take a little longer till the world wakes up. Namaste.

  2. jan says:

    I wonder if the Burning of Judas can explain the Shoah.

    Do Germans in Catholic areas of Germany burn Judas?

    I find this practice troubling.

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