Last updateFri, 27 Mar 2015 10pm

Blowing up the bad guys

No Mexican festivity seems complete without noisy fireworks, even the most solemn of all religious celebrations, Easter. The traditional Quema de Judas follows the celebration of the late night Misa de Gloria (Glory Mass) on Holy Saturday.  The fiery detonation of effigies representing Christ’s treacherous disciple – and by extension sinful and despised  public figures and other  powers of evil – is a deep-rooted custom embraced by popular culture for more than four centuries.  While the custom is still popular, it appears to have been more so in years gone by. Writes Dorothy Gladys Spicer in her 1937 “The Book of Festivals,” Judas “is made to look as horrible as possible. Sometimes he has a huge red nose and wears a high hat and frock coat. Coins, pasted upon his garments, represent the 30 pieces of silver for which he sold Christ. By ten o’clock Saturday morning everything is in readiness for Judas’ execution. Effigies of the traitor are suspended from roofs, balconies, lamp posts, trees, shop windows. As soon as the mass is over, fuses are lighted. Church bells peal forth.  With loud explosions the Judases are torn to shreds. The people in the plazas shout with glee.”