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Baptism of fire for man and horse

A man riding a horse through flames during the annual Luminarias religious celebration on the eve of St Anthony's Day, which commemorates Spain's patron saint of animals, in the village of San Bartolome de Pinares, north-west of Madrid, last Saturday.

In a tradition that dates back 500 years, people ride horses through the narrow cobblestone streets of this small village to purify the animals with the smoke of the bonfires and also to protect them throughout the year.

The manes and tails of the horses are braided before the ceremony to stop them from going up in flames as they go through this baptism of fire.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 18, 2016, with the headline 'Baptism of fire for man and horse'. Print Edition | Subscribe