Fire ritual of Spain

Held once every winter in Spain, thick smoke begins to swallow up the houses in this village in the barren lands of Avila, North-West of Madrid. It means the town’s bonfire honouring St. Anthony the Abbot has begun. A night before the day when townsfolk celebrate the patron saint of domestic animals, comes the clack of hooves. Suddenly the flames roar up and horses and riders emerge to begin leaping through flames. Some townspeople say celebration dates back five centuries to when plague was fought with Roman Catholic Rituals that used smoke for purification.

fire-ritual

San Bartolome de Pinares has kept its “luminaries’ festival alive with religious intensity and unswerving pride, fending off criticism from animal rights groups. When agriculture was far more important, mules and donkeys also were led past the bonfires in purifying ritual. Now horses are the only animal used.

In recent years, tourists, journalists and photography aficionados have put attention on the ritual, which has come under attack from animal rights groups. “ There is no logic in forcing these animals into a stressful situation against their own nature”, said Juan Ignacio Codina, one of the most vocal critics of the festival.

Couldn’t have agreed for more!!

San Bartolome de Pinares has kept its “luminaries’ festival alive with religious intensity and unswerving pride, fending off criticism from animal rights groups. When agriculture was far more important, mules and donkeys also were led past the bonfires in purifying ritual. Now horses are the only animal used.

In recent years, tourists, journalists and photography aficionados have put attention on the ritual, which has come under attack from animal rights groups. “ There is no logic in forcing these animals into a stressful situation against their own nature”, said Juan Ignacio Codina, one of the most vocal critics of the festival.

Couldn’t have agreed for more!!

Though it has survived test of the time, but needs to be reworked in the interest of innocent animals & humans too!! It can be a simple bonfire…

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