Mexican town celebrates Easter with ‘burning of the Jews’ (TIMES OF ISRAEL) By NATHAN BURSTEIN 04/10/12)
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A small Chiapas town ends its Holy Week observance by parading Jewish
effigies through the streets, then setting them on fire
The world is full of charming Easter traditions, but this isn’t one
A newspaper in Mexico is detailing Sunday’s “burning of the Jews,” an
annual tradition in Coita, a small town in the state of Chiapas. As
part of the custom, locals spend the middle of their Holy Week making
Jewish effigies — a reference to Judas Iscariot, the disciple who
betrayed Jesus before his crucifixion.
The fake Jews are then displayed for three days in different parts of
the town, serving as an example of poor conduct.
They’re ultimately paraded through the streets on Easter Sunday, with
local children assigned to stand in front of them and collect money
for flammable materials.
The article notes that the tradition differs in Coita, where locals
set fire to the effigies on Easter itself, rather than the day
before, as in other towns. The burning is followed by a dance, where
locals eat a corn treat made with cocoa. The article says the
custom “strengthens” the culture of the Zoque, an indigenous people
in southern Mexico who were converted to Catholicism.
The ceremony seems to echo, to some extent, the “Running of the Jew”
event depicted in Sacha Baron Cohen’s 2006 movie “Borat” — a work of
The Chiapas Herald takes an uncritical view of the ritual, reporting
that it “fosters unity and respect” and “purifies the soul.” (© 2012
THE TIMES OF ISRAEL 04/10/12)
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