For 130 years, the people of Masatepe have observed Good Friday by dressing up in colorful masks and costumes and dragging chained “Judases” through the streets of their town in western Nicaragua. Some dress like Roman soldiers. Others don masks designed to inspire fear, although the masks aren’t what you might expect in a Holy Week event – they’re macabre, post-apocalyptic creations. Long chains are attached to the participants portraying Judas and people drag them around, sometimes symbolically kicking and beating them, to punish them for betraying Jesus Christ. On this day, the “Judases” are known as “the chained ones”. Organizer Israel Gutierrez Ruiz said more than 900 people participated in the event this year. “Half are paying a promise to God, the other half are doing it to maintain the tradition”.
People dressed as Judas carry chains during the “Los Encadenados” or “The Chained Ones” procession on Good Friday during Holy Week in Masatepe, Nicaragua, Friday, April 18, 2014. (Photo by Esteban Felix/AP Photo)
A Judas is carried through the streets. The crowd pretends to kick and beat the Judases to show scorn. (Photo by Oswaldo Rivas/Reuters)
Another Judas is “abused” by the crowd. (Photo by Oswaldo Rivas/Reuters)
A Judas is hauled around in chains. (Photo by Oswaldo Rivas/Reuters)
A man portraying the role of Jesus Christ takes part in a procession on Good Friday during Holy Week celebrations in Masatepe April 18, 2014. Holy Week is celebrated in many Christian traditions during the week before Easter. (Photo by Oswaldo Rivas/Reuters)
Actors playing the part of Jesus and a Roman soldiers participate in “Los Encadenados”, or The Chained Ones procession on Good Friday during Holy Week in Masatepe, Nicaragua, Friday, April 18, 2014. (Photo by Esteban Felix/AP Photo)