An ancient Greek custom of fire-walking -- "Anastenaria".---dating back thousand of years before Christ, was filmed by VISNEWS May 21 at Langada, Macedonia.
GV Priest blesses fire walkers.
REAR V.. Priest blesses fire walkers.
SV Sheep blessed before sacrifice.
LV Fire prepared and lit.
LV Man dance through fire.
CU Man's feet as he dances through fire.
SV Man dancing.
SCU Man dances through fire.
SV Dancers past fire.
CU Man dances through fire.
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Background: An ancient Greek custom of fire-walking -- "Anastenaria".---dating back thousand of years before Christ, was filmed by VISNEWS May 21 at Langada, Macedonia.
Before the ceremony, the male and female fire walkers were blessed by an elderly Orthodox priest. Men taking part in the "fire dance" collected wood for the fire built in the village square. According to the Anastenarian custom, beheaded sheep are then offered for sacrifice.
Holding Icons (picture of saints) aloft, the dancers leap barefoot through the glowing embers - their frenzied dancing watched by many visitors including 500 sailors of the US, 6th Fleet.
The annual festival began as crowds thronged the small village, bedecked with flags. It was a day for remembrance of two Greek saints -- St. Constantine and St. Helen -- and the local population flocked to the cemetery to lay flowers of relatives during a religious service, prior to the fire walking ceremony. Monks of a nearby monastery sold souvenirs of Langada to visitors.
The fire walking ceremony goes back to the Greco-Turkish wars of 1920 BC when many greeks were forced to move to Macedonia. They took this ancient custom with them and it has been carried on ever since.