Linares, a jolly craftsman in paint-splattered clothes, presided over this block party that attracted hundreds of revelers, with kids chasing cotton candy whisps and pitched funny-foam battles. Linares and his relatives, who have been running this show for decades, chose the order of the Judas burnings, beginning with diminuitive devils and wee minions and moving to the big dogs: President Barack Obama with a cigar in his mouth and a Cuban flag, a black-clad ISIS fighter with a Kalashnikov, and the grand Trumpian finale.
All this Judas burning is a symbolic way to destroy evil, a night of catharsis by way of pyrotechnics. The ceremonies take place across Mexico, a symbolic way to destroy evil before Easter. Santa Rosa Xochiac, a hillside neighborhood to the southwest of the capital, has become one of the popular Judas torching spots. More than a dozen groups of people spend months building their effigies, then parade them through the streets before rigging them with fireworks and sparklers and setting them ablaze.
“Mostly it’s devils, monsters,” said Ricardo Sanchez, a 27-year-old mechanic as he put the finishing touches on 20-foot tall dragon. “One year we burned Osama bin Laden.”