Judios Used During Semana Santa in Sinaloa

During Semana Santa (Holy week, the week ending on Easter Sunday), the Yoeme (Yaqui), Yoreme (Mayo), and Cora Indians perform dance dramas that depict the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ. In Sinaloa Mayo towns, there are masked Judios who portray “Soldiers of Rome;” in such portrayals, they persecute Jesus and then repent after his resurrection. The Yaquis believe that the masks of these dance figures collect the evil that has accumulated in the village over the past year, and so their masks are most definitely burned on Holy Saturday to dissipate this evil. The Mayo Indians usually burn these masks, but sometimes they sell them to collectors instead, and the Cora performers routinely sell their masks to attending collectors. Traditionally the Mayo Judio masks were made entirely of goat-skin, but by the 1960s  the Mayo Indians of Sinaloa had begun to construct their Judio masks with wooden face plates that are attached to goatskin cowls. James Griffith wrote about this innovation in a KIVA article—”Mochicahui Judio Masks: A Type of Mayo Fariseo Mask From Northern Sinaloa, Mexico” (Kiva, Vol. 32, No. 4, April 1967, pp. 143-149).  Here is one of those face plates. I bought this one and the next from Jaled Muyaes and Estela Ogazon of Mexico City, in 2001.

Continue Reading