Judas, who betrayed Jesus for “thirty pieces of silver”, has been inscribed in the collective consciousness of the Greek people as the cornerstone of betrayal, ingratitude and malice.
In the folk tradition of western art and literature, his figure has been established as the archetype of the eternal traitor.
The characteristically proverbial phrases “The kiss of Judas” or “Ungrateful like Judas” literally derive from his treacherously hideous act.
A kind of exemplary punishment for Judas’ misdeed is to set his effigy ablaze immediately after Jesus’ Resurrection on Holy Saturday night or on Easter
The focal point of the ritual is the preparation of the effigy of Judas made of pieces of cloth, straw and wood, so that its burning becomes much more impressive and striking.
In Monemvasia, more than anywhere else in Greece, this folk custom becomes really impressive, as it takes place on Easter Sunday, in the beautiful square of Panagia Chrysafitissa, the patron saint of the Castle Town.
It is the magnificent setting of the mediaeval castle that makes the ritual so memorable as thousands of visitors who enjoy it every year explicitly manifest.