Mel Gibson Holiday Destinations: #12 Mexico

Especially around Easter.

"Ok, we've got the fire and I've also brought along my sword"

The world is full of charming Easter traditions, but this isn’t one of them.

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.

The fake Jews are then displayed for three days in different parts of the town, serving as an example of poor conduct.

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 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.”

Unfortunately for Mel, he’s not Mr Popularity over in Mexico, so they likely won’t allow him to light the Olympic Jew-burning torch at the beginning of the ceremony.

About Aussie Dave

An Aussie immigrant to Israel, Aussie Dave is founder and managing editor of Israellycool, one of the world's most popular pro-Israel blogs (and the one you are currently reading) He is a happy family man, and a lover of steak, Australian sports and girlie drinks

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  • Jim from Iowa

    Maybe “Running of the Jew” and “Throw the Jew Down the Well” is not so fictional after all. I don’t even want to get into Eric Cartman’s (South Park) attitudes toward Jews. Maybe if the Jews made their holidays more fun, things would work out better. See Jon Stewart’s recent take on Easter vs. Passover as a recruitment vehicle for children. Chocolate Easter Bunny or horseradish root, you choose little Johnny.

    • http://anneinpt.wordpress.com anneinpt

      I wish to disagree. Pesach IS fun, for those who know. If you haven’t seen the excitement on the faces of the children at Seder night, when Dad/Grandpa is looking for the Afikomen which has been hidden by the children, then you’ve never seen excitement before.

      If you’ve never seen the joy on children’s faces when they sing the 4 questions of Ma Nishtana, then you haven’t seen joy.

      With the right education, upbringing and attitude, Jewish holidays are the best enjoyment ever. No need to compete with other religions. Just look for the best within your own religion. Stop focusing on the negative.

      • Jim from Iowa

        OK, as you might have guessed, I’m not Jewish. But I’ve heard lots of stories from Jews about Jewish religious life that no one could confuse for fun. Full of obligation, endless soul-searching and trying to find meaning in every aspect of life. “Hey, they didn’t kill us this time, let’s eat!” is the closest thing I can think of to a fun time. Don’t get me wrong. Jews are lots of fun to be around, but what’s so much fun about the four questions or smearing lamb’s blood on the front door observed during Passover? I’ll stick to the half-price bin and stock up on all the unsold Easter candy, thank-you.

        • cba

          If you don’t think the Passover Seder’s fun, then you’ve never been to MY Seder.

          Oh wait, you never HAVE been to my Seder!

          Like many years, I had some non-Jewish guests at my Seder this year. One of them told me afterwards that when he left and looked at the time, he couldn’t believe how late it was–that’s how much fun he’d had.

    • iro

      Jon Stewart has apparently never heard of kosher for Passover candy.

      I received many Barton’s chocolate seders as a child; but my favorite were the truffles in the Bonbonniere box of assorted chocolates.

      The chocolate seder plate Manischewitz makes is 6″ in diameter of solid chocolate. The Sweet Tooth makes a 9″ diameter chocolate seder tray AND chocolate plagues.

      There’s the chocolate and toffee-crunch covered matzo which you can make yourself (AKA Matzo Crack).

      http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-chocolate-caramel-matzo-47589

      • Jim from Iowa

        I’m not sure this confectionary delight is technically legal in Iowa or in keeping with the thought that foodstuffs should be able to be quickly prepared to take into exile at a moment’s notice. Are you sure this is kosher for Passover, because it looks like something Goyim would come up with just to mess with the Jews. But I don’t care. This looks really, really good. Sign me up.

  • Norman B.

    It would take Sacha Baron Cohen to do this justice.

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