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Documenting the ritual of Burning Judas in a small rural village in Nothern Greece
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on a rainy late evening in Nothern Greece
On the late evening of the 13th April I attended in burning Judas, in a small village in Nothern Greece.

The revival of this symbolic ritual in many villages in modern Christian Orthodox Greece has caused some debate over the last years. A dummy made from straw, (similar to the scarecrows used in the fields) is set on fire in a central spot either on Good Friday or Holy Saturday during the Easter period.

Under the Christian Orthodox spirt of the supporters it symbolizes the exemplary punishment of the traitor, who even after his death, can not find self-redemption since he took his own life after betraying Jesus.Oppositionists argue that such symbolisms do not fit in any modern western society, as anti-semitism (Judas is often referred to as "the Jew") and self-redress are the core values underlying this revived ritual.

The official Greek Orthodox Church does not support nor condemn this ritual. The preparation of the dummy and the lighting of the Judas is always the responsibility of the villagers. 

After the short ceremony was over, i can not really argue that i felt some strong objection to this ritual. I also can not state that I felt that this ritual was re-enforcing or hidding some form of a  racist attribute, despite the somewhat bizzare language used by some attendees.

While Judas is burning some take pictures with their cell phones, most people observe quietly the pile of olive branches turning into a flaming body. As the rain starts to fall, most people leave before the fire goes out. Children seem to enjoy it the most, some even throw firecrackers into the fire.

For me it felt like the same people that burn Judas are the ones that offer their forgiveness to him. A strange sense of justice is what i believe that people feel after completing the brief ceremony. I can easily understand the people offended by this ritual and I can fully justify a harsh rhetoric against this ritual. 

Thus, the feeling while watching is different, the vibe of the audience is not negativevly charged, for me it seems and feels like burning Judas is just another ritual of casting evil off our lifes. 
A group of friends posing for me in front of Judas. They all like basketball and hope to get some firecrackers from their friends to throw into the fire later on.
The dummy posing Judas is very similar to the scarecrows used in the fields to scare away crop eating birds.Each year a different person is responsible for dressing Judas. As it has been some raining in the morning gasoline is spilled over the dummy, to ensure that it will burn when the olive branches are lit up
Grandfather observes the construction, while his grandson is looking for friends in the field
Believers enter the local graveyard carrying a cross. Living as well as dead are invited to participate.
The dead body of Jesus is unnailed from the cross and burried. The epitaph is orbited around the village centre. While passing in front of Judas, the fire is set.
Setting Judas on fire
Men make sure that the fire is set. As in most cultures, so in Greece, setting the fire is a male responsibility in any give occasion.
As the rain starts many leave for their homes while some have come prepared and open their umbrellas
The first rain drops start falling while the fire is still expanding. For many rain is an griefing expression of nature for Jesus's Passion
Many children are among the attendees. Most of them are fascinated by the sight of the large fire in the dark night and the fact that they are allowed to stay up until late.
Burning Judas.
Grandmother keeps her young grandchild under her umbrella, while another child is called by its parent not to come to close to the fire. Almost all people have left, everydoby wishes to renew their date for next year.