Warding off the bad spirits

Participants pose for a photo during the annual bell-bearing tradition in the village of Kali Vrisi in the region of Drama, northern Greece. Every winter, following the Orthodox Church's celebration of the Epiphany, locals in several villages across the Balkans perform such animalistic masquerades and ritual dances to ward off evil spirits and awaken the coming spring. These pagan customs, which are believed to pre-date Christianity, are linked to fertility celebrations in honor of the god of wine and pleasure, Dionysus. [Dimitris Tosidis/EPA]

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