From ancient tradition to community evolvement
A very ancient pagan tradition in Tondela, Portugal, was the burning of Judas: A ritual associated to Easter and the renewing of a fruitful new agricultural year. In this tradition a puppet made of straw was burned at the door of the church after the Easter mass, accompanied by a judgment where “Judas” was accused of all bad things that appended to the community, and at the end he was burned.
The cultural association ACERT transformed this old tradition into a performance created by the local community, where all the things used during the performance are constructed in one week and burned at the end. This event is an intense participatory process including more than 200 people each year. During one week from Sunday to Easter Saturday the performance including music, sets, wardrobe, interpretation and movement is created. On Saturday the participants present their performance in front of more than 5000 people and all constructions that where built during the week are burned. The energy that 200 people put into the creation of such a project is incredible, for the organization this annual event is the renewing of energies for the rest of the year. This kind of renewal of local traditions is essential to create local synergies and to promote the participation of the community regarding things that they identify as their own. In the beginning (ACERT started in 1986), Burning Factories signified the affirmation of a strategy of community evolvement which is the mark of ACERT today.
Associação Cultural e Recreativa de Tondela (ACERT)