February 3, 2017 / 4:44 PM / 4 years ago

Masked teenagers chase children in centuries-old Spanish festival

Revellers are helped to be dressed as "Zarramaches" inside the city hall during celebrations to mark Saint Blaise's festivity in Casavieja, Spain February 3, 2017. REUTERS/Sergio Perez

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain’s village of Casavieja observed its annual celebration of Saint Blaise on Friday, where masked 18-year-olds dress as “zarramaches”, a reference to their outlandish costumes topped by a multicolored conical hat.

Teenagers gather at the central Spanish village’s town hall, dressed in white robes, straw mats and cowbells, before parading through the streets brandishing wooden sticks and oranges and chasing younger children.

The origins behind the folk tradition that dates back centuries are unclear with some suggesting that the jangles of cowbells serve to purify the village.

Reporting by Amanda Calvo; Editing by Sonya Dowsett

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