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Fireball festival lights up Salvadore town

Fireball festival lights up Salvadore town

The town of Nejapa, El Salvador celebrated its annual fireball festival on Friday (August 31) during which participants pelt each other with rags drenched in gasoline that have been rolled into tight flaming balls.

Participants gather every year on this date in the town located some 30 kilometres (18 miles) north of San Salvador, to commemorate a volcanic eruption that forced all of the residents to abandon the town.

On the 31st, two teams dress up, paint themselves as skeletons and don gardening gloves and fight fire with fire, throwing the burning balls at each other and the audience who line the streets

There are two versions: One religious and the other traditional. The religious (version) is that when Saint Jerome - Nejapa's patron - was praying the devil distracted him and he threw fireballs at him. And, the traditional is from the eruption of the volcano in 1658

Local churches and their worshippers have embraced the tradition with urban legend saying that the hot lava that flowed from the volcano was actually the local Christian Saint Jerome fighting the devil with balls of fire.

One of the most organized festivals in El Salvador, emergency medics are on hand, police keep order and guests have a chance to hold the balls of fire before and after the fight. Usually music follows the fight and a good time is had by all.

Reuters