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Residents of Nejapa, El Salvador, threw fireballs at each other in the street. The 300-year-old religious ceremony symbolizes ...
a battle between the town's patron saint and the devil. (Sept. 2)
Tags:ap,AP News,Associated Press,good vs. evil,Nejapa El Salvador,patron saint,Religious Ceremony,South American Celebration,geronimo
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SHOTLIST:SOURCE - ASSOCIATED PRESS - AP CLIENTS ONLYNejapa, El Salvador - 31 August, 2013 1. Various of youths running and throwing fireballs during the fire-ball war festival 2. Close of fireballs on ground 3. Wide of fireball rolling down the street 4. Wide of participants throwing fireballs at each other 5. Close of fireball on ground 6. Mid of young participant throwing fireball 7. Wide of participants throwing fireballs as crowd cheer them on8. Wide of battle between two groups of youth throwing fireballs at each other9. Close of man holding fire ball in one hand10. Mid of participants hurling fire balls at each other11. Close of man crouching while holding a fireballSTORYLINE: Nejapa in El Salvador celebrated the annual fire-ball war festival on Sunday, a re-enactment of a fight between the town's patron saint and the devil. Groups of townspeople battled each other by hurling fireballs at each other as spectators cheered them on. The 300-year old religious ceremony is carried out in honour of Saint Geronimo but there are many stories as to its origin. According to legend, the saint fought the devil with fireballs. Some say the fireball "warfare" is a reenactment of when the original village was destroyed by the Quezaltepec volcano also known as the San Salvador volcano. In 1922, the people of Nejapa and the surrounding area were forced to flee when the volcano erupted. As they were leaving, locals saw great balls of fire spewing out of the volcano and believed their patron saint was actually fighting the devil with them. Ever since, the people of Nejapa have celebrated the festival each year. Two teams of young men, with their faces covered by paint, threw flaming balls at each other as hundreds of bystanders watch their every move. Equipped with gloves and clothes soaked in water, the brave participants threw fireballs as they also tried to evade the ones hurled their way. Made from rags dipped in fuel, the fireballs often leave a streak of flames on the ground. The battle attracts large crowds. Some of the participants' clothes sometimes catch on fire and 66 people were treated by minor burns during the festival, according to the local media.(****END****)