Spain has a tradition that spans centuries, called Las Luminarias. Here horses jump through bonfires as part of a purification ceremony.
The annual ceremony was canceled due to COVID-19
However, the much-awaited ceremony happened this weekend. About 100 horses took part.
Traditionally, this celebration takes place on the night of Jan. 16 in San Bartolome de Pinares, which is the eve of Saint Anthony’s Day.
Spain’s patron saint for animals is St. Anthony.
Despite the tradition it holds and that no harm comes to the horses participating, over the years animal rights groups have argued the ceremony could be dangerous to the animals.
Local Reuters the animals were not harmed since priests bless them beforehand, and current organizers say the horses were not harmed because riders take precautions like cutting the horse’s hair to avoid burns.
Some residents look forward to the next night and consider it a treat. “magical,”According to Reuters.
“For me it is one of the most special days of the year, we have been living it since we were little, look at the tears that come to my eyes,” rider Alberto Martin told Reuters.