Sunday, May 1, 2011

La quema del Judas 2011

Last Sunday I went back to Cerro El Litre to watch the Quema del Judas. Last year I went to the parade and the following event and really liked it. I would have liked to go somewhere else this time for a change in scenery, but I was running late and didn't know if I would make it anywhere else in time. Perhaps next year if I am in Valparaiso, I will check out the events in the Plaza Waddington or Parque Italia. Anyway, last year I explained the burning of Judas in more in detail (with photos) the tradition of collecting coins, putting them in an effigy of Judas, and burning him until all the coins fall and children collect them. This year I took a sequence of photos that more adequately show the process.

Although its very interesting, especially for someone who didn't grow up knowing about this tradition, personally I find it a little uncomfortable. (Aside from the obvious uneasy feeling which may come watching the portrayal of torching a human,) It's another one of many activities in Chile where I feel people really don't take much precaution to prevent accidents or keep their children from harm. Judas went swinging back and forth on a cable, launching flaming appendages towards the crowd while dripping lighter fluid and chunks of scorching hot material down among small children below as they tried to pick up the coins.

Well anyway, here are the photos, click to enlarge:


  1. "Judas went swinging back and forth on a cable, launching flaming appendages towards the crowd while dripping lighter fluid and chunks of scorching hot material on small children below as they tried to pick up the coins."

    hahah, this is one of the many things about chile that make me laugh and just say "ay, chile". Unfortunately I have yet to be in town during this..maybe next year!

  2. I should modify that a bit, I didn't actually witness anyone get hit. Its just that personally, that freaks me out, but all the moms around me are just yelling "juanito, hurry up! run in and grab a coin!" And the kids as little as toddlers are walking through flaming stuff, under falling flaming stuff, sticking their hands in fire and ash trying to pick up coins that are potentially hot enough to burn fingers!

  3. nicely shot, and great description of the flaming appendages and whatnot. The burning in effigy always freaks me out too. In Cuenca they do it to say goodbye to the previous year, and they "affectionately" call the effigy the "maricon." You can understand why I'd find this troubling, surely.

  4. well well well! look what I found! :0) great blog, man. I was looking at this thinking, "hey maybe she would want to be my friend!", And who figured?!

  5. Ugh...nice photos, but I think as I've said before, it just creeps me out to see it. The face they made also looks so mutilated and zombie-like. *Shivers*

  6. Y bueno....

    ¿Que quieres que te diga? asi es Chile pos :P

    La verdad es que nunca ha pasado algo de gravedad durante la quemá del monigote ese. Sin embargo, como es de suponer las autoridades solo tomoarán cartas en el asunto cuando un niñito o niñita resulte herid@ con quemaduras graves y/o al borde de la muerte (ni Dios lo quiera) o, peor aún, que resulte muerto :(

    Pero bueno, esperemos a que no pase jamás.


  7. Thanks for sharing this! The pics make me feel like I was there. I don't think they do anything similar where I'm living in Patagonia, though if I see what appears to be a person on fire amid a mob of people, I'll know not to be too alarmed...

  8. Interesting, we had wondered what the story was with the hanging guy. We could actually see one from our window, but back then our Spanish wasn't anywhere near good enough to grasp the story.
    I completely agree with the lack of responsible care taken sometimes with kids here. We live near the enormous slide at the top of Ascensor Reina Victoria and the things I see parents to to their kids there is incredible...thanks for a good read.

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  11. Wow. very sorry for not replying in an even remotely timely matter. Pretty soon I'll be posting again about this years' events.

    Jess - yes, small world. Wish you were still here!
    Eileen- ouch! what an interesting cross-cultural comparison of the event.
    Jen and Por que Chile- hahah that would be a rather odd thing to stumble upon if you hadn't heard of it!