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Las Luminarias: a Spanish festival of fire and horses (PHOTO)

In the town of San Bartolome de Pinares, horses are ridden through bonfires the night before the day celebrating Saint Antony the abbot, the patron saint of animals. The tradition, which is reported to be 500 years old, is meant to purify and protect the animal for the year ahead.
Las Luminarias: a Spanish festival of fire and horses (PHOTO)

Children use branches to build bonfires
Las Luminarias: a Spanish festival of fire and horses (PHOTO)

A horse’s mane is braided in preparation
Las Luminarias: a Spanish festival of fire and horses (PHOTO)

A horse’s tail taped with the colours of the Spanish flag to protect it from the flames
Las Luminarias: a Spanish festival of fire and horses (PHOTO)

Some of the watching crowds wear masks to protect themselves from the smoke
Las Luminarias: a Spanish festival of fire and horses (PHOTO)

A rider refreshes himself with a drink at the start
Las Luminarias: a Spanish festival of fire and horses (PHOTO)

The bonfires being made as the riders and horses wait to take part
Las Luminarias: a Spanish festival of fire and horses (PHOTO)

A rider and horse leap through the flames
Las Luminarias: a Spanish festival of fire and horses (PHOTO)

A man shows hands-free riding skills
Las Luminarias: a Spanish festival of fire and horses (PHOTO)

Horse and rider feel the intense heat
Las Luminarias: a Spanish festival of fire and horses (PHOTO)

In the foreground a rider falls from her horse as another participant rides through
Las Luminarias: a Spanish festival of fire and horses (PHOTO)

A man covers his face for protection from the fire
Las Luminarias: a Spanish festival of fire and horses (PHOTO)

A man rides a horse through the flames, which traditionally are meant to purify and protect the animal
Las Luminarias: a Spanish festival of fire and horses (PHOTO)

Horse and rider are engulfed in flames
Las Luminarias: a Spanish festival of fire and horses (PHOTO)

Rider and horse jump out of the bonfire
Las Luminarias: a Spanish festival of fire and horses (PHOTO)

Riding out of the flames through the smoke past the Cascorro statue in San Bartolome de Pinares

Photograph: Pablo Blazquez Dominguez

Source: Guardian
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