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Hot to trot: Spain celebrates fiery festival to ward off evil

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Hot to trot: Spain celebrates fiery festival to ward off evil
Photo: Pierre-Philippe Marcou/AFP
11:09 CET+01:00
Horsemen ride at full speed through raging bonfires in one of Spain's most dangerous festivals.

The traditional religious festival of Luminarias is celebrated in the village of San Bartolome de Pinares in Avila, Castile and León, in honour of Saint Anthony, the patron saint of animals.


A man getting some dutch courage before he rides through a bonfire. Photo: AFP

The festival was celebrated on January 16th - that night, locals light up to 30 bonfires and around 300 horsemen ride at full speed through the flames.


Photo: AFP


Photo: AFP

The festival stems from medieval times, when Spaniards believed that fires were magic and had purifying properties.


Photo: AFP

Now, the rites of the fire are said to ward off evil spirits and protect the coming year's harvest. 


Photo: AFP


Photo: AFP

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