In the Soria province of Spain, the local people have an unusual way of celebrating midsummer night.
In the Soria province of Spain, the local people have an unusual way of celebrating midsummer night. Last Friday, (23 June) at the annual midsummer fiesta, they put on their traditional display of walking barefoot over red hot coals.
SYNOPSIS: The art of firewalking has been traced back to Classical Greece and ancient India and China. However, nowadays it is mainly practised in the Pacific Islands, Malaya, China, Japan and Spain.
In Spain the firewalkers only perform at midnight on the shortest night of the year. The people at this festival in San Pedro Manrique are not sure of the origin of the tradition but some say it is pre-Christian rite.
At midnight with the coals red hot, the firewalking begins. Various explanations have been offered for firewalking. Its performance is said sometimes to ensure a good harvest, or to purify a person. A man who is accused of a crime my be asked to undergo the ordeal of fire to prove his innocence. If he emerges unscathed his innocence is proven.
The firewalkers believe that only those who lack faith will suffer from injuries from fire, while the faithful are spared. At this Spanish fiesta the firewalkers carry passengers across the coals to demonstrate their love and respect to the person they carry. Injuries from burns are reported to occur, but only vary rarely. The firewalkers do not apply any artificial preparation to protect their bodies and the sport or art has never been fully explained.