As I wrote in Boarding Pass over at Pret a Voyager, I could visit San Miguel de Allende in central Mexico again and again. In fact, I have. At last count, we had visited San Miguel de Allende nine times over seven years of living in Mexico… give or take a visit.
Several of our visits to San Miguel were during Easter known, in Mexico, as Semana Santa (Holy Week). For me, the highlight of Easter in San Miguel was the “Exploding Judases”, an event which is held at noon on Easter Sunday. Six-foot tall papier maché figures, clothed in brightly coloured crepe paper, are strung on ropes across Calle San Francisco on the north side of the Jardín. The original figures represented Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus Christ but now the people of San Miguel de Allende also enjoy blowing up effigies of unpopular politicians and other local authorities.
DP took the photographs below.
“La Colmena” means the beehive but I suspect it is also a nickname for a (not-so-beloved) person.
The figures, as many as two dozen, are “rigged” with fireworks that are wrapped around their waists. When the fuse is lit, the fireworks begin to pop and the figures begin to turn around, whizzing and spinning around as if possessed by the devil himself.
Finally, the figure explodes with a huge bang. (Notice the people covering their ears.) The figure breaks apart and its limbs fly off in all directions like the parts of a piñata which, essentially, it is… but without the candy!
Little kids run out onto the street to claim the still-burning arms and legs as trophies. Sometimes they engage in a macabre battle with other lucky “limb” holders.
Below: Boy, at rest, with arm.
I am not going to lie. There is something strangely cathartic and deeply satisfying (yes, satisfying) about this ritual.
How did you spend your Easter Sunday?