From The Times of Israel

Mexican town celebrates Easter with ‘burning of the Jews’

A small Chiapas town ends its Holy Week observance by parading Jewish effigies through the streets, then setting them on fire.

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.

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 (Jewish) Sacha Baron Cohen’s 2006 movie “Borat” — a work of fiction.

The Chiapas Herald takes an uncritical view of the ritual, reporting that it “fosters unity and respect” and “purifies the soul.”

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