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Las Fallas and Burning of the Judas

Hi, re Las Fallas: I've been to the Fallas in Valencia and other towns
various times. Burning effigies also is the central part of the Quema de
Judas, the "Burning of Judas", which takes place during Easter.The
Fallas do occur around the time of Purim and the Quema around the time
of Passover, depending on how the Jewish and Christian calendars
coincide that particular year (one year in Madrid I came home from a
Moroccan seder at 3:00 a.m. and met a colleague at the bus stop to go to
the Burning of Judas in a nearby village at 8:00 a.m.). Burning
effigies, of course, is a widespread phenomenon; and Spain has dozens of
fire-related rituals, and although the timing of these two seem to fit
well with the Jewish calendar cycle, they may well ahve nothing at all
to do with Jewish origins.
 As for the Fallas, when first saw them, in Valencia in 1972, it was in
my pre-ethnomusicology (or anything-ology) years of innocence, when I
just kind of went to things because they seemed interesting and didn't
think much about them! But I did ask how long this had been around and
most people said not that long, a couple of hundred years, maybe, as I
remember. Not that that necessarily means anything. I always meant to
follow it up, and now, with your interesting question, will ask around
when I'm back in Spain next month. Remind me! Anyway, one spends the
whole night walking around, inspecting the various Ninots - a year goes
into creating them, and then they are burned in an instant - and
drinking and singing , then tries to find a friend's balcony to watch
the fires from. It's often very cold at night that time of year. Around
6:00 a.m. the bands start playing in the streets, you go and find some
hot chocolate (thick as pudding) and the strips of fried dough called
"churros" ubiquitously consumed as breakfast, and stagger home.
The burning of the Judas - apparently it used to be done with green wood
so the fire ;asted longer but now it's done with old dry wood, it goes
very fast, and people don't stay around singing and dancing any more but
go off on picnics with their ghetto blasters. The boy who climbs all the
way up the dry tree to set fire to the giant papier mache head (as with
the Fallas, often a caricature of a political or other well-known and
not well-loved figure) has to be very quick and agile or is in real
danger (I'd hate to  be his mother). I have some video footage of one.

>  Have any studies been done as to whether Las Fallas
> > > may have originated
> > > as a Purim festival, which either was preserved by
> > > conversos after the
> > > Expulsion, or, if it originated much earlier,  might
> > > be linked to the
> > > ban on the burning of Haman imposed on the Jews in
> > > Christian Europe
> > > because of accusations that the hanging, crucifying
> > > and burning of Haman
> > > was a symbolic crucifixion of Jesus?.   Both its
> > > timing and its
> > > tradition of burning and exploding effigies of
> > > political figures bear
> > > strong resemblance to the Purim customs of the Jews
> > > of the Muslim
> > > world.  Any further information would be greatly
> > > appreciated.

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