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First Posted: Mar 9, 2012
Mar 9, 2012

The Festival of Fire in San Bartolome de Pinares, Spain aka Luminarias

by Debora Johnson

What is the Festival of Fire held yearly in San Bartolome de Pinares, Spain? What significance does it hold? What are some of the animals that Saint Anthony protects?

A man rides a horse through a bonfire in San Bartolome de Pinares, Spain (Pic: Getty Images)

This is a yearly tradition that ceremoniously celebrates prosperity and protection. This tradition dates back more than 500 years. January 18 marks the yearly feast of Saint Anthony. Saint Anthony Abad is the patron saint of domesticated animals which include horses, donkeys and mules, as well as other domesticated animals. He was Egyptian born and has been celebrated since the Middle Ages.

The night before Saint Anthoney's Day the people of San Bartolome de Pinares build bond fires. The horses and riders ride through and jump over these fires as they make their way down the narrow cobblestone streets of this small village. The smoke from the fires is thought to purify the animals and protect them throughout the year. Festivities include musicians and feasts of chorizo sausages and black pudding. Some of the instruments used are drums and Spanish Bagpipes (Galician gaita) . Of course, alcohol is also thrown into the mix!

For More Information:

Horses ride through fire to mark Spanish festival of patron saint of animals

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