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AP PHOTOS: Spanish, Portuguese towns celebrate Carnival

AP PHOTOS: Carnival revelers use cowbells, sticks to scare folk across Spain and Portugal

In this photo taken on Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015 revellers  dressed in local Carnival traditional costumes parade during Carnival festivities in Lazarim...
In this photo taken on Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015 a man, covered in oil and soot representing the devil, smokes a cigarette as he gets ready for the carn...
In this photo taken on  Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015 a man, covered in oil and soot carrying bull horns on his head and cowbells on a belt representing the...
In this photo taken on Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015 a girl runs away from a ''Mamuxarro'' during the carnival, in the small town of Unanu, northern Spain. Wh...
In this photo taken on Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015 men covered in oil and soot carrying bull horns on their head and cowbells on a belt representing devil...
In this photo taken on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015 a ''Momotxorro'' takes part in the carnival wearing his typical carnival dress, in Alsasua, northern Spa...
In this photo taken on Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015 Joaldunaks, some to call them ''Zanpantzar'', take part on the Carnival between of the Pyrenees villages...
In this photo taken on Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015 a group of  young girls react next to a ''Mamuxarro'' during the carnival, in the small town of Unanu, no...
In this photo taken on Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015 Joaldunaks, some to call them ''Zanpantzar'', take part on the Carnival between of the Pyrenees villages...
In this photo taken on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015 revellers dressed in traditional costumes run around a burning effigy of a traditional figure during ann...
In this photo taken on Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015 revellers  dressed in Carnival traditional costumes dance and jump as they parade during Carnival festi...
In this photo taken on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015 ''Momotxorros'' take part in the carnival wearing typical carnival dress, in Alsasua, northern Spain. Wh...
In this photo taken on Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015 Joaldunaks, also called ''Zanpantzar'', eat in a restaurant on their way to take part on the Carnival be...
EDS NOTE : SPANISH LAW REQUIRES THAT THE FACES OF MINORS ARE MASKED IN PUBLICATIONS WITHIN SPAIN. In this photo taken on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015 a 'you...
In this photo taken on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015 a ''Momotxorro'', wearing typical carnival dress, walks to take part in a parade in Alsasua, northern Sp...

Spain Portugal Carnival Photo Gallery

In this photo taken on Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015 revellers dressed in local Carnival traditional costumes parade during Carnival festivities in Lazarim...

Spain Portugal Carnival Photo Gallery

In this photo taken on Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015 a man, covered in oil and soot representing the devil, smokes a cigarette as he gets ready for the carn...

Spain Portugal Carnival Photo Gallery

In this photo taken on Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015 a man, covered in oil and soot carrying bull horns on his head and cowbells on a belt representing the...

Spain Portugal Carnival Photo Gallery

In this photo taken on Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015 a girl runs away from a ''Mamuxarro'' during the carnival, in the small town of Unanu, northern Spain. Wh...

Spain Portugal Carnival Photo Gallery

In this photo taken on Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015 men covered in oil and soot carrying bull horns on their head and cowbells on a belt representing devil...

Spain Portugal Carnival Photo Gallery

In this photo taken on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015 a ''Momotxorro'' takes part in the carnival wearing his typical carnival dress, in Alsasua, northern Spa...

Spain Portugal Carnival Photo Gallery

In this photo taken on Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015 Joaldunaks, some to call them ''Zanpantzar'', take part on the Carnival between of the Pyrenees villages...

Spain Portugal Carnival Photo Gallery

In this photo taken on Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015 a group of young girls react next to a ''Mamuxarro'' during the carnival, in the small town of Unanu, no...

Spain Portugal Carnival Photo Gallery

In this photo taken on Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015 Joaldunaks, some to call them ''Zanpantzar'', take part on the Carnival between of the Pyrenees villages...

Spain Portugal Carnival Photo Gallery

In this photo taken on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015 revellers dressed in traditional costumes run around a burning effigy of a traditional figure during ann...

Spain Portugal Carnival Photo Gallery

In this photo taken on Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015 revellers dressed in Carnival traditional costumes dance and jump as they parade during Carnival festi...

Spain Portugal Carnival Photo Gallery

In this photo taken on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015 ''Momotxorros'' take part in the carnival wearing typical carnival dress, in Alsasua, northern Spain. Wh...

Spain Portugal Carnival Photo Gallery

In this photo taken on Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015 Joaldunaks, also called ''Zanpantzar'', eat in a restaurant on their way to take part on the Carnival be...

Spain Portugal Carnival Photo Gallery

EDS NOTE : SPANISH LAW REQUIRES THAT THE FACES OF MINORS ARE MASKED IN PUBLICATIONS WITHIN SPAIN. In this photo taken on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015 a 'you...

Spain Portugal Carnival Photo Gallery

In this photo taken on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015 a ''Momotxorro'', wearing typical carnival dress, walks to take part in a parade in Alsasua, northern Sp...

MADRID (AP) -- The wild and colorful costumes and masquerades that precede the Christian season of Lent have created popular festival traditions in Spain and Portugal.

One of Portugal's most famous Carnival events takes place in the northcentral town of Lazarin, with its pagan 'careto' ritual of young men in colored woolen quilts donning brass, leather or wooden masks as they dance and chase people -- especially young women -- through the streets, trying to scare them by making lots of noise and jingling bells.

In Spain's central town of Luzon, men covered in oil and soot wear bull horns and cowbells to represent the devil. Records of Luzon's Carnival date as far back as the 14th century, although it is believed to be much older.

Up north in Alsasua, half-man, half-bull figures known as Momotxorros smear their face as if with the blood of a sacrificed animal. Wearing horns and red-stained sheets, they roam the Spanish town, roaring fiercely and brandishing sticks.

In Spain's ancient village of Unamu, people dress up as Mamuxarro, folkloric figures in white with a red sash and a metal mask to cover their faces as they pursue townsfolk with sticks. According to custom, their alleged victims (usually young women) must kneel and kiss their knee after he makes the sign of the cross on their forehead.

In the northern Basque village of Lesaka, where the central character is the Zaku Zaharrak, revelers stuffed into sacks full of straw threaten people with sticks bearing inflated animal bladders.

The Pyrenees villages of Ituren and Zubieta stage one of Europe's most ancient carnivals -- dating from Roman times. Residents dress up as figures known as Joaldunak and parade through the streets with sheepskins around their waists and shoulders, conical caps and cowbells on their backs.

Here's a gallery of images from this year's festivals.


Updated : 2021-09-18 01:28 GMT+08:00