Burning of Judas

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Burning of Judas

Between March 22 and April 25; Easter
La Quema de Judas takes place throughout Venezuela on the evening of Easter Sunday. Unlike the many solemn rituals organized by the Roman Catholic Church during Holy Week, Judas burning is a local affair, organized by villages and neighborhoods. The preparations go on all week, beginning with the selection of an appropriate Judas—usually a public figure in the community, but sometimes an individual well known throughout the state or nation—against whom the group has decided to stage a protest. The women construct a life-sized effigy of this person, making sure to include elements of dress or appearance that leave no mistake about its identity. The men build a wooden stand in a central location where the Judas figure will be placed.
On Easter afternoon, the people proceed to the house where the effigy has been stored for safekeeping and demand that Judas Iscariot, the disciple who betrayed Jesus, be turned over for punishment. The Judas effigy is placed on the stand, where everyone gets a chance to hit or kick it. At dusk the leader of the group recites the complaints that the people have against this individual—a document known as "The Testament of Judas," which is often written in verse and quite humorous. Then the event leaders pour gasoline on the Judas and set flame to it. The drinking, dancing, and fireworks continue late into the evening.
Although no one seems to know exactly how the custom originated, accounts of it have been traced back as far as 13th-century Spain.
See also Holy Saturday in Mexico
SOURCES:
EncyEaster-2002, p. 328
FolkWrldHol-1999, p. 245
References in periodicals archive ?
He added that the Arabs were Hitler's second target and it was illogical for Al Hesseini to demand and encourage the burning of the Jews and later to reach the Arabs.