Devils take centre stage at Ecuador Good Friday festival

Devils take centre stage at Ecuador Good Friday festival

ALANGASÍ, Ecuador - Good Friday processions usually see Catholic worshippers focus on the crucifixion and death of Christ, but in one town in Ecuador it is the devil who takes centre stage.

In the central Andean town of Alangasi, just south of Quito, 24 celebrants paint themselves red, don devilish masks and parade through the streets while carrying pornographic magazines, phallic symbols and wads of cash to symbolize tempting the faithful.

Children scream in terror and hide behind their parents as the red demons romp through the town.

While the ghoulish figures maraud, actors dressed up as Christ and Roman soldiers also walk the streets, as well as men carrying huge cones on their heads - up to seven meters (23 feet) tall - to represent their grief over the death of Jesus.

The priest Cesar Arias said the devils are an "expression of popular religiosity" that "represent the struggle between good and evil."

But he lamented that "Jesus has taken a back seat," and that the devils had stolen the show.

The devils are "trying to stop us from hearing the word of God," local resident and devout Catholic Jose Males told AFP.

The festivities run through Easter Sunday, when locals celebrate the resurrection of Christ.

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