Originally posted on The Other Paper  |  Last updated 9/2/13
The northwestern municipality of Nejapa in El Salvador celebrated the annual Fireball Festival on Sunday, a reenactment of a fight between the town's patron saint and the devil. As groups of young men battled each other by hurling massive balls of gasoline-soaked rags at each other, spectators lined the narrow street and cheered them on. Think of it as dodgeball with Molotov cocktails. Looking more like a war-zone than a celebration, the two teams of young men, with their faces covered by war paint, throw flaming fireballs at each other, surrounded by hundreds of bystanders. Equipped with gloves and clothes soaked in water, the combatants throw and at the same time, evade the flaming fireballs made from rags and dipped in fuel. Some of their clothes do catch on fire, and some of the participants are often hit point blank in the face,  but despite the danger, few injuries have been reported over the years.  "Las Bolas de Fuego", as the locals refer to this bizarre event, is actually a reenactment of the fight between San Jeronimo and the devil. But others think it is in remembrance of the volcano which destroyed the village almost 400 years ago. Either way, we'll stick to bouncy red utility balls. Although. If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a fireball.
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