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Ancient carnival in Spain helps to ward off evil spirits

Woolly paradegoers welcome spring

“Joaldunaks” use a small truck to go to the next village while taking part in a carnival in the small Pyrenees village of Ituren, northern Spain, last month. — Photo via AP

In one of the most ancient carnival celebrations in Europe, dozens of people don sheepskins, lace petticoats and conical caps, sling cowbells across their backs and parade through two Spanish towns.

The groups, named “Joaldunak,” after the Basque-language word for cowbells, march through the northern towns of Ituren and Zubieta to herald the advent of spring.

The annual procession stems from ceremonies held to ward off evil spirits and bless the harvests to come.

The celebration is traditionally held at the end of January.

It is believed to date from before Roman times.

“Joaldunaks” march along the street as they take part in a carnival in the village of Ituren, northern Spain, on Jan. 27. In one of the most ancient carnival celebrations in Europe, dozens of people don sheepskins, lace petticoats and conical caps and sling cowbells across their lower backs as they parade to herald the advent of spring. — Photo via AP

The participants march along roads and mountain paths between the two towns, jingling their bells.

“Joaldunaks” walk along the road last month as they take part in a carnival in the small Pyrenees village of Ituren, northern Spain. — Photo via AP

“Joaldunaks” wear cowbells hung across their lower back while taking part in a carnival in northern Spain last month. — Photo via AP