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Photos of Horses Jumping Through Fire for a Better 2017

Every year on the 16th of January, the horses in a small village near Madrid run through bonfires to ward off evil for the coming year.

av Adrián Domínguez
2017 01 17, 11:45pm

This article originally appeared on VICE Spain

The people of San Bartolomé de Pinares, a small village in the Spanish province of Ávila, have their own way of warding off evil for 2017, and it's not some vague New Year's resolution to "waste less time on social media and focus on the positive". Instead, they've let a bunch of horses jump through fire for good luck.

Every year on the night of the 16th of January, the people of San Bartolomé de Pinares light up big bonfires in the middle of their small streets, after which a few men from the village get on their horses and jump over the bonfires. The tradition dates back to the 18th century, when an outbreak of the plague hit the area, killing most of the horses around. After that, the villagers started to deworm their horses with the smoke rising from the bonfires. The event is part of the celebrations of the feast-day of St. Anthony, where bonfires are lit up all around the area as a form of purification and good luck for the new year.

Although the custom now mostly serves as a means to attract tourists, it can still be quite chilling to watch. Photographer Adrián Domínguez was there to document the festivities.

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