Horses jump bonfires as Spain’s purification ceremony returns after pandemic break


SAN BARTOLOME DE PINARES, Spain (Reuters) – About 100 horses jumped by means of bonfires in a purification ceremony on Sunday throughout the Spanish pageant of “Las Luminarias”, which was held for the primary time for the reason that begin of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The conventional nighttime celebration takes place in San Bartolome de Pinares each Jan. 16, the eve of Saint Anthony’s Day, Spain’s patron saint of animals.

It was cancelled final 12 months due to pandemic restrictions.

Revellers rode their horses by means of the slim cobble-stoned streets, which in accordance with custom, purified the animals with the smoke and flames of the bonfires for the approaching 12 months.

After an hour of horses leaping over flames, revellers then took to dancing and ingesting.

“This comes from 1000’s of years in the past. So that animals didn’t get unwell, the previous monks would bless them with fires in order that they might jump and be purified,” stated Fermin Abad, 64, a neighborhood resident.

About 100 horses and their homeowners took half within the festivities, Reuters witnesses stated.

Despite coming underneath criticism from animal rights teams over time, organisers informed Reuters that the horses weren’t harmed on account of precautions taken by riders to chop horse hair to keep away from burns.

(Reporting by Graham Keeley; Additional reporting Elena Rodriguez, Michael Gore and Javier Barbancho; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

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