This year, the Catholic observances of Saint John's Day and Corpus Christi nearly overlapped, and festivals and solemn gatherings took place all over the world. The feast of Corpus Christi celebrates the physical body of Jesus Christ, and the Bonfires of Saint John (San Juan) celebrate John the Baptist. The festivals are observed in varying ways from country to country, reflecting older native traditions that have been combined with newer Catholic observances. From a firehose baptism in the Philippines to devils dancing in Panama to a carpet of flowers in Italy, here are some of the ways people observed these two festivals this year. [37 photos]
A rider rears up on his horse surrounded by a crowd during festivities to celebrate the traditional Fiesta of Saint John in downtown Ciutadella, on June 23, 2011. The riders of the horses are the representatives of ancient Ciutadella society - nobility, clergy, craftsmen and farmers.
(Reuters/Enrique Calvo) #
A woman throws an object in a bonfire on June 24, 2011, during the traditional Saint John's night on a beach in Malaga, southern Spain. Fires are lit throughout Spain on the eve of Saint John's Day where people burn objects they no longer want and make wishes as they jump through the flames.
(Jorge Guerrero/AFP/Getty Images) #
People dressed as dancing devils walk down a hill during a traditional dance celebration in Naiguata, Venezuela, Wednesday June 22, 2011. Spanish conquerors and Catholic priests presented dancing devils ceremonies to Latin America's African slave population 200 years ago, who adopted it and incorporated drums into the ritual. The dancing devil ceremony comes the day before the Catholic holiday of Corpus Christi.
(AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos) #
Dancers wearing the traditional outfit of the "Chinelos" dance on a street during the Corpus Christi celebration in Mexico City, on June 23, 2011. The tradition of the Chinelo is particular to the southern state of Morelos and dates back to colonial times. The outfits and masks, which are supposed to resemble the faces of the Europeans and always sport an uptilted beard, and became more elaborate between the 1800s and 1900s to make fun of the upper social classes.
(Reuters/Carlos Jasso) #
A fireman uses a firehose to spray water on revelers during a religious festival in San Juan City, Metro Manila, on June 24, 2011. Filipinos celebrated the Feast of Saint John the Baptist by dousing of water onto residents, commuters and motorists in keeping with the tradition of the sacrament of baptism as performed by Saint John.
(Reuters/Cheryl Ravelo) #
A worker adds the finishing touches to one of the floral decorations along the main street of Genzano, south of Rome June 19, 2011, during the traditional "Infiorata". The flower decorations, made by residents using flower petals, have been part of this festival celebrating the Corpus Domini (Body of Christ) feast for over 200 years.
(Reuters/Alessia Pierdomenico) #