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Spanish villagers rode their horses through a bonfire Thursday night as part of a 500-year-old ritual in honor of Saint Anthony, the patron saint of animals.

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Fires blazed in the narrow cobblestone streets of San Bartolome de Pinares, a small village northwest of Madrid, for the Luminarias festival. The tradition is meant to purify the animals with the smoke of the bonfires and protect them for the year to come.

— Reuters, The Associated Press

A horse stands near a fire during the "Luminarias" annual religious celebration on the night before Saint Anthony's, patron of animals, in the village of San Bartolome de los Pinares, about 100 km (62 miles) northwest of Madrid, January 16, 2014. According to tradition that dates back 500 years ago, people ride their horses through the narrow cobblestone streets of this small village to purify the animals with the smoke of the bonfires. Picture taken January 16, 2014. JUAN MEDINA / Reuters