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Bolas de Fuego (Fireball Festival)

Each year on the evening of August 31, residents of small Salvadoran town Nejapa paint their faces to look like skulls, soak their clothes and a pair of gardening gloves in water, and take to the streets in two teams for the annual Bolas del Fuego, or Fireball Festival. 

The Fireball Festival commemorates a landmark volcanic eruption in 1658, which, according to legend, was actually a battle between local patron saint San Jeronimo and the Devil. As a tribute to this divine clash between good and evil, Nejapa becomes an unregulated battleground for two warring groups, who marinate balls of cloth in kerosene, light them on fire, and hurl them at one another at close range while flanking crowds cheer them on.




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