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Spaniards don scary costumes and make loud noises in festival to wake up spring


People dressed in costumes walk along a street during carnival celebrations in Zubieta, Feb. 1.


A man wearing a demonic mask stokes a bonfire during carnival celebrations in Zubieta Feb. 1.

Susana Vera / Reuters

"Joaldunak" (Carriers of bells) parade to the tune of the heavy bells they carry on their backs in Ituren, in the northern Spanish region of Navarra Feb. 1.


These surreal images caught my eye as I monitored our picture database this afternoon. From Reuters: Every year, villagers from Ituren parade to the neighbouring town of Zubieta, both in Spain, during a festival to welcome the spring after a tough winter in the deep valleys of the northern Navarra region. According to mythical Basque stories, the noise made by the big bells carried by the "Joaldunak," and scary costumes, ward off evil spirits and give prosperity for a year to the people living in nearby towns.