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Explosions and Smiles Accompany Local Easter Sunday Ritual to Punish “Judases”

Extranjera compró una cara

Niña con pierna de mono

Niño con cara

By Jesús Aguado

Annually on Eater Sunday (also known as Resurrection Sunday) in San Miguel de Allende, evil is defeated—evil being represented by dolls made of papier-mâché stuffed with gunpowder, that is.

One of the city’s most enthusiastic Easter celebrations each year involves the exploding of Judas effigies in the Jardín Principal in front of the old City Hall.

A cathartic “punishment” of the biblical figure Judas Iscariot for the betrayal of Jesus Christ to the Roman authorities, these effigies—of Judas, but also of animals and often of despised public figures—whirl and whirl once they are ignited, and when they explode, the heads, arms, feet and necks fly through the air while people of all ages smile and yell with clearly deeply felt emotion.

This ritual with “the Judases”—as the creations are often referred to collectively, no matter what the actual representation of the effigy —is a much-loved event attended by many in town. The individual Judases are created well in advance and are sponsored by businesses. Some are even sponsored by the local government.The centennial event’s origin is unknown.

This year, organizers strung 20 dolls from the City Hall building to the Jardín Principal. The creations ranged from ducks and frogs to evil faces.

At noon on Easter Sunday, the first Judas was ignited. After 30 minutes of confetti, and “body” parts flying over the crowd, three more dolls were hung; one of them caused commotion in the crowd, perhaps because it was an effigy of US President Donald Trump. Curiously, this year no local, state, or national politicians were among the effigies, which is usually the case at this event.

Once the carefully organized mayhem had come to an end and the restricted-area tape was taken down, the crowd gathered in the center of calle Plaza Principal to recover papier-mâché limbs and also to purchase some heads retrieved by the effigies’ creators to sell for between 200 and 300 pesos.

 

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