Mexico's annual donkey festival

Donkeys are kings for a day at a special May Day festival in Otumba, Mexico.

OTUMBA (Reuters) - In the 16th-century rural Mexican town of Otumba, donkeys were kings for a day as residents celebrated the annual Day of the Donkey on Sunday (May 1).

Thousands turned out for the festival which was a twist on traditional Labour Day events honouring the worker throughout Latin America on May 1.

Races and polo matches were featured as spectators fawned over donkeys dressed from head to hoof in costume.

The costumes included historical references such as ancient Mexican pyramids, and more modern references, such as a donkey dressed as US presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Otumba government representative Cecilia Samiji said this year the issue of protection and conservation was paramount.

"Donkeys are in danger of extinction due to technological innovation. They were once used as a means of transportation and for field work. They have been replaced by technology but the municipality is working with a sanctuary, a sanctuary for donkeys named "Burrolandia" to preserve the species, take care of them and let them reproduce," she said.

About sixty years ago, Otumba residents relied heavily on these work animals and decided they deserved their own day of honour.