Greek town ritually burns Judas as Orthodox celebrate Easter

An effigy of Judas is set on fire during the ‘burning of the Judas’, in the port town of Ermioni, in the Peloponnese peninsula. The tradition, dating several centuries back, and observed throughout Greece, is a symbolic punishment of treason and avarice, the qualities associated with Judas, the disciple of Christ who accepted a monetary reward to betray his teacher. (AP Photo)
Updated 09 April 2018

Greek town ritually burns Judas as Orthodox celebrate Easter

  • The ritual burning of Judas is a custom also observed by Roman Catholics in parts of Latin America as a symbolic punishment for Judas’ betrayal of Christ for a monetary reward.
  • About 20 small boats circled around a raft bearing a wire model of Judas that floated off Ermioni and then the figure was set ablaze.

Ermioni: As Orthodox Christians around the world celebrated Easter on Sunday, a town on Greece’s Peloponnese peninsula observed the holy day by burning an effigy of Judas at sea.
The ritual burning of Judas is a custom also observed by Roman Catholics in parts of Latin America as a symbolic punishment for Judas’ betrayal of Christ for a monetary reward.
The tradition dates back centuries in some places. In the Greek town of Ermioni, it has been observed the past 25 years.
About 20 small boats circled around a raft bearing a wire model of Judas that floated off Ermioni and then the figure was set ablaze. More than 1,000 locals and visitors watched from shore and also listened to music and saw a laser show.
In older times, the Judas effigy was made of straw. Sometimes, topical variations on the theme are introduced. In at least two villages in Crete this year, the Judas figure was made to resemble Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
A darker side of the custom is an implied hostility in some cases toward Jews as the “killers of Christ.”
The tradition even led to an international incident in mid-19th century Greece.
Worried about offending James de Rothschild, founder of the French branch of the famous Jewish banking family who was in Greece to negotiate a loan, the government banned the burning of Judas in Athens in 1847. An outraged mob then ransacked the house of a Jew who was a British subject.
Britain demanded restitution equal to a sizeable percentage of the Greek budget. The Greek government refused, and Britain imposed a naval blockade in 1850. France and Russia took Greece’s side and the British lifted their blockade after six months. A restitution agreement was reached the following year.
Orthodox Easter came a week later than the holiday this year for Western-based Christian churches, with significant observances in Russia, Greece, Ukraine, Serbia and Kosovo.
About 4.3 million people took part in event, the Interior Ministry said. President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev attended Easter services at Christ the Savior Cathedral, Moscow’s largest church.
In Kiev, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko attended Easter services at the Volodymyrskiy Monastery.
Serbia celebrated the day in a highly charged atmosphere over Kosovo, the former Serbian province whose predominantly Muslim, ethnic Albanian people declared independence a decade ago.
Kosovo is considered by Serbian nationalists to be the cradle of the Balkan nation’s statehood and religion. On the eve of Easter, Serbian Orthodox Church Patriarch Irinej urged political leaders never to accept Kosovo’s independence, even if the price is abandoning the country’s proclaimed goal of joining the European Union.


Parisian fragrance house Ex Nihilo cuts ribbon on its first Saudi boutique

Updated 24 October 2020

Parisian fragrance house Ex Nihilo cuts ribbon on its first Saudi boutique

DUBAI: Parisian fragrance maison Ex Nihilo has cut the ribbon on its first flagship in Saudi Arabia. The new perfumery is situated in Jeddah’s Nojoud Center, alongside other brands like Lacoste and Femi9.

The new store evokes the brand’s French flagship with its iconic cobalt blue interior, marble floors, Art Deco geometric shapes and minimalist gold details. “It’s exactly like when you visit our flagship in Paris,” states Ex Nihilo co-founder Benoit Verdier to Arab News.

The space displays an extensive range of the luxury perfume brand’s highly-covetable women’s and men’s products, including the label’s perfumes, essences, body lotions, mists, scented candles and the latest fragrance collection, Gold Immortals. “All the collections, including our most exotic creations, are showcased in the new store,” shares Verdier. 

In a very short time, the brand has developed a niche following in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, so the decision to expand its presence in the region made sense. “We already have a connection with Saudi people around the world, especially in Paris and London,” reveals the co-founder. “Since the demand is already there, it only felt right for us to open a new outlet in the Kingdom.”