What Happens In Costa Rica, Stays In Costa Rica AKA The Burning Of Judas
I love to travel to new places and learn about their culture. That was one of my favorite parts about visiting Belize and Guatemala on our honeymoon. Sure, we could have had an average run of the mill honeymoon sitting on a beach in Hawaii, but it’s not really our style. Instead we spent the first half of our honeymoon having crazy adventures in the rainforest going cave canoeing, riding bikes through herds of cattle, and spending an entire day with 4 guys we didn’t know in a small car who promised to take us to the Mayan ruins in Guatemala….but scared us to death by driving off the main road into a remote little area just so they could show us a beautiful lake along the way *whew*. All of these stories and adventures are something that are irreplaceable and something that I will never forget. The second half of our honeymoon was spent on an island off the coast of Belize beaching, a nice change of pace after the hectic first half!
One of the other things that I love about traveling is learning how the people in these countries celebrate holidays and events. When we visited Belize, we were there close to Easter so we got to hear all about their traditions and watch them set up for the huge festivals that take place every year. When we went to Guatemala for the day, we learned that they too celebrated with festivals and parties, but that they also lined the streets with rose petals. I still wish we could have been there to see it.
This past week, Matt had the pleasure of accompanying our brother-in-law Todd on a free trip through work to Costa Rica. The two of them were supposed to be there for 4 days, but ended up staying for 6 because of a little problem with a plane – but we won’t get into that. When Matt got home on Wednesday, we had a nice little time chatting about their adventures and looking through pics while devouring a Lou Malnati’s Pizza. Yum.
My favorite photos out of the bunch were the few photos of a man standing with what looks like a scarecrow.
Matt explained to me that as a woman was driving them to go golfing, they came across the scarecrow in the wagon on the side of the road and the woman pulled the car over. As soon as she pulled off to the side of the road, a man came out from his house and stood in front of the scarecrow and tried to block their view. The woman explained to them that every year around Easter, the people in Coasta Rica make these effigies of Judas and put them out in front of their house. People in the area apparently give the men and women of the household it stands in front of “donations” in order to take photos with it and throw things at it. Then, on the Saturday night before Easter, the effigy is burned.
I can just imagine someone trying to celebrate Easter this way in the US…..
On that note, I went to the internet to find some information about this interesting tradition and I found a bunch of articles that discuss it. Here is a quote from amcostaricaarchives.com:
“This is an opportunity to get even with Judas since he was a traitor to the Maestro, said Carlos Arauz, a Costa Rica customs and traditions expert.
According to the Bible, Judas was the apostle who sold out Christ for silver coins. Others have said the burning of Judas is a way for Christians to let all their sins wild and in symbol burn with Judas, and then confess for Easter. This cleanses and allows them to be reborn just like Jesus.”
Of course, my husband couldn’t miss a good photo opp..so he got out and gave the man a donation so he could take some photos. The man running the show was even nice enough to pose with the effigy for him!
They didn’t get to see any fires, but this still makes for an excellent story….and it’s an excellent example of the type of traditions you only learn when you visit a foreign country.