photography, Reviews, San Miguel de Allende

Catharsis: Blowing up stuff on Easter Sunday

Maybe if every place had a day when you could blow up life-size papier-mâché effigies of bad people, the world would be a happier place.

I was definitely in a happier place after watching San Miguelians blow up about two-dozen effigies on Easter Sunday. They call them Judases.

I know, not your typical Easter Sunday celebration. Just roll with it and enjoy.

All week San Miguel de Allende has been observing the tragic (or glorious) end of Jesus Christ, reliving his life and death in an almost real-time series of processions and pageantry. By Easter Sunday, the story is largely played out.

Time for some catharsis.

(Click on any picture to enlarge it!)

The papier-mâché Judases are life-size images of devils, witches, brides, bankers, politicians, celebrities, sports figures — almost anyone who has irked the populace in the previous year. The identity of most, I suspect, goes to the explosive grave with the figure.

In recent years, the grand finale has been a bloated figure of Donald Trump which detonates to raucous noise and applause. There was no Trump this year, perhaps a sign that justice is being served in a more traditional way, or perhaps his presence has simply fallen off the radar here.

The cast of characters getting strung up:

There were plenty of other characters for the Judas team to destroy — about two dozen in all.

The Judas team strings four ropes across Calle Conde de Canal, from the government building to the Parque Principal. On each line are four mannequins about 20 feet above the ground. One by one, the mannequins are lowered to the ground where a yellow-shirted team member will light the fuse — a sign to send the offender aloft.

The pyrotechnics are arranged so that the mannequin spins around three times — clockwise, counterclockwise, and clockwise again. Each time, smoke, sparkles, or flame fly out of the character. The spinning stops, there is a pause, and then, KABOOM!

Legs, arms heads, hats, and torsos go flying. Kids scream and cover their ears. Adults do too, though most just make appreciative sounds as you would at an arena concert for aging rock stars.

The whole thing is repeated as the Judas team gathers the papier mache body parts into piles.

When the last Judas is undone, the kids rush under the yellow tape and start collecting as many legs and arms as they can carry. The heads are in a special pile and are sold for charitable donations.

Folks walk away, slightly more-deaf for the effort, saying, “Well, that was fun.” Some think of whom they would like to see hoisted into the air with a cache of gunpowder stuffed down the gullet.

Perhaps next year.

Coping with the explosions:


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