Effigy Burning Is An International Tradition

Effigy Burning Is An International Tradition

By Bob Small

Recently, New London, CT revived the Burning Benedict Arnold Festival, in remembrance of the Sept. 6, 1781 raid on that town, burning most of it to the ground. Derron Wood, organizer and also Artistic Director of New London’s Flock Theatre calls it the “Original Burning Man Festival”.

Victor Chiburis, also of Flock Theatre, said that one year, there were mock Arnold Supporters butit usually is very peaceful and historic.

According to the Cambridge English Dictionary, hanging in effigy was a common form of political protest in the 18th and 19th centuries. 

In 1765, the patriots of Boston lynched the British Imperial Taxman

There were also traditional burnings in effigy of Robert Lundy, who betrayed the defense of Derry with Ian Paisley describing Margaret Thatcher and David Trimble as “Lundies”.

In present times both Joe Biden and Donald Trump have been hung in effigy if not burned. These deeds are protected by the First Amendment. Similarly, Mexicans were also burning Trump effigies.

The Times of India indicates burning a politician in effigy is not considered a crime except for “rash and negligent handling of fire or combustible matter”.

Going further back in history, we have the “burning of Judas” and the last known case of that was in Liverpool, England in 1971. To my knowledge, it’s not a practice in any US Churches.

Any discerning fan of horror cinema is aware of the Hammer Studios Contributions, and The Wicker Man (1973)   is actually based on Druidic legend

The final citation is not a person burned in effigy but Covid 19

One wonders whether there should be an unofficial US  Effigy Day, perhaps every Sept. 6, as an unofficial day of protest against whatever tyrants groups choose.

The choice, of course, would be up to the group.

Effigy Burning Is An International Tradition

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