Why This Spanish Villages Rides …

Every January, on the eve of the feast of Saint Anthony, the residents of San Bartolomé de Pinares, Spain ride their horses through bonfires on the streets of their village. According to local lore, the tradition dates back centuries and started as an attempt to purify farm animals during a time of disease. Now it continues as a roisterous festival known as Las Luminarias.

“We would give our lives for this celebration. Anyone of us here.” Pedro Martín Muñoz, president of the Association for the Defense of the Luminarias, told VICE News. “To us, this is a magical night, both for the townspeople and the visitors.”

Animal rights organizations have criticized the festival in past years for its treatment of the horses, but Martín Muñoz says they enjoy the night as much as the riders.

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