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Great balls of fire in San Salvador are ancient tradition

September 2, 2008 |  9:55 am

You might have enjoyed our coverage of an amateur bull-fighting festival last week, in which men try their luck against 500-kilogram bulls.

Well, Mexico doesn't have the monopoly on dangerous cultural practices and traditions -- as the video dispatch below from La Prensa Graphico in El Salvador shows.

In the Nejapa municipality of San Salvador, El Salvador's capital, residents celebrate "Bolas de fuego" (Balls of Fire) every August 31st. That involves chucking burning balls at each other in the streets.

According to Wikipedia: "Las Bolas de Fuego has two origins, one is a historical story and the other is a religious tale.

"The historical version of the story is that a volcano erupted and forced the villagers of the old Nejapa village (known as Nixapa) to flee and settle at its current location.

"The religious version is that "San Jeronimo" was fighting the Devil with Balls of fire. No matter what version you believe, the tradition commemorates both stories."

Whether religiously inflamed or not, those who play with fire often end up burned ...

-- Deborah Bonello in Mexico City