Burning effigy of Judas an Easter tradition in Greek town

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Burning effigy of Judas an Easter tradition in Greek town
People on a boat hold flares as they sail behind the effigy of Judas during the revival of the old Easter tradition of the "burning of the Judas", in the port town of Ermioni, in the Peloponnese peninsula, southwest of Athens , Sunday, April 8, 2018. 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/Petros Giannakouris)

ERMIONI, Greece (AP) — A town on Greece’s Peloponnese peninsula has observed Orthodox Easter by burning an effigy of Judas.

A fleet of about 20 small boats circled around a raft bearing a wire model of the apostle who betrayed Jesus Christ, then set the figure alight.

On land in the town on Ermioni, over 1,000 locals and visitors listened to music and watched a laser show.

The ritual burning of Judas, a custom also observed in parts of Latin America, is a symbolic punishment of treason and avarice. In the New Testament, Judas betrays Christ for a monetary reward.

In some places, the tradition dates back centuries. In Ermioni, it has been observed for the past 25 years.