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Europe's first carnival of 2016 kicks off with crazy costumes in Spain

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Europe's first carnival of 2016 kicks off with crazy costumes in Spain
Photo: Cesar Manso/AFP
15:09 CET+01:00
La Vijanera carnival took place in Spain on the first Sunday of January as thousands of people gathered in the Cantabrian town of Silió to bid farewell to winter.

Europe's first festival of the year features around 60 participants (all male) performing in different scenes with the aim of banishing the last year and making way for the new year. 


Photo: Cesar Manso/AFP


Photo: Cesar Manso/AFP

La Vijanera dates from pre-Roman times and celebrates the end of winter and changing of the seasons with a cast of wacky characters including the Madame (la Madama), the Gentleman (el Caballero), the Doctor (el Médico) and the Old Woman (la Vieja).


Photo: Cesar Manso/AFP

Some of the most famous participants are the Zarramacos, who dress in sheepskin and wear tall, conical hats (shown above). They jingle cowbells which are tied to their bodies to ward off evil spirits from the coming year.


Photo: Cesar Manso/AFP

One of the main characters is the bear (El Oso), a youngster dressed in sheep skin who symbolizes winter. The celebrations end with the symbolic killing of the bear marking the end of winter and the ushering in of spring.


Photo: Cesar Manso/AFP


Photo: Cesar Manso/AFP


Photo: Cesar Manso/AFP

 

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