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Las Luminarias: a Spanish festival of fire and horses

January 17, 16:55 UTC+3

The tradition of riding horses through fire, which is reported to be 500 years old, is meant to purify and protect the animal for the year ahead

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A man rides a horse through a bonfire as part of a ritual in honor of Saint Anthony the Abbot in San Bartolome de Pinares, Spain
A man rides a horse through a bonfire as part of a ritual in honor of Saint Anthony the Abbot in San Bartolome de Pinares, Spain
A man rides a horse through a bonfire as part of a ritual in honor of Saint Anthony the Abbot in San Bartolome de Pinares, Spain
© AP Photo/Francisco Seco
On the eve of Saint Anthony's Day, dozens ride their horses through the narrow cobblestone streets of the small village of San Bartolome during the Luminarias festival
On the eve of Saint Anthony's Day, dozens ride their horses through the narrow cobblestone streets of the small village of San Bartolome during the Luminarias festival
On the eve of Saint Anthony's Day, dozens ride their horses through the narrow cobblestone streets of the small village of San Bartolome during the Luminarias festival
© AP Photo/Francisco Seco
Las Luminarias, a Spanish festival of fire and horses dates back 500 years
Las Luminarias, a Spanish festival of fire and horses dates back 500 years
Las Luminarias, a Spanish festival of fire and horses dates back 500 years
© AP Photo/Francisco Seco
The festival is meant to purify the animals with the smoke of the bonfires and protect them for the year to come
The festival is meant to purify the animals with the smoke of the bonfires and protect them for the year to come
The festival is meant to purify the animals with the smoke of the bonfires and protect them for the year to come
© AP Photo/Francisco Seco
A man drinks wine from a wineskin next to bonfires during the ritual in San Bartolome de Pinares, Spain
A man drinks wine from a wineskin next to bonfires during the ritual in San Bartolome de Pinares, Spain
A man drinks wine from a wineskin next to bonfires during the ritual in San Bartolome de Pinares, Spain
© AP Photo/Francisco Seco
San Bartolome is located about 100 km northwest of Madrid, Spain
San Bartolome is located about 100 km northwest of Madrid, Spain
San Bartolome is located about 100 km northwest of Madrid, Spain
© AP Photo/Francisco Seco
A woman braids the hair of a horse before the ritual in honor of Saint Anthony the Abbot in San Bartolome de Pinares
A woman braids the hair of a horse before the ritual in honor of Saint Anthony the Abbot in San Bartolome de Pinares
A woman braids the hair of a horse before the ritual in honor of Saint Anthony the Abbot in San Bartolome de Pinares
© AP Photo/Francisco Seco
A horse and rider jump over the fire asking Saint Anthony for protection against diseases
A horse and rider jump over the fire asking Saint Anthony for protection against diseases
A horse and rider jump over the fire asking Saint Anthony for protection against diseases
© EPA-EFE/RAUL SANCHIDRIAN
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A man rides a horse through a bonfire as part of a ritual in honor of Saint Anthony the Abbot in San Bartolome de Pinares, Spain
© AP Photo/Francisco Seco
On the eve of Saint Anthony's Day, dozens ride their horses through the narrow cobblestone streets of the small village of San Bartolome during the Luminarias festival
© AP Photo/Francisco Seco
Las Luminarias, a Spanish festival of fire and horses dates back 500 years
© AP Photo/Francisco Seco
The festival is meant to purify the animals with the smoke of the bonfires and protect them for the year to come
© AP Photo/Francisco Seco
A man drinks wine from a wineskin next to bonfires during the ritual in San Bartolome de Pinares, Spain
© AP Photo/Francisco Seco
San Bartolome is located about 100 km northwest of Madrid, Spain
© AP Photo/Francisco Seco
A woman braids the hair of a horse before the ritual in honor of Saint Anthony the Abbot in San Bartolome de Pinares
© AP Photo/Francisco Seco
A horse and rider jump over the fire asking Saint Anthony for protection against diseases
© EPA-EFE/RAUL SANCHIDRIAN

Each year, on the eve of Saint Anthony's Day, Spanish residents take to the streets to ride their horses through bonfire flames. Saint Anthony is Spain's patron saint of domestic animals. And this tradition is meant to purify the animals with the smoke of the bonfires and protect them for the year to come. A look inside Luminarias, Spanish festival that dates back 500 years.

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