Las Bolas de Fuego

Las Bolas de Fuego or "Balls of Fire" is a traditional event held every 31st of August in small town of Nejapa, El Salvador. The event was organized for the first time on the 15th of September 1922. Two groups of young people are throwing flaming balls at each other. These balls are made of old cloth and wire. They are soaked in petrol. Persons participating in the event are well protected. Nobody really gets hurt. Everything is one big party.

Las Bolas de Fuego in Nejapa, El Salvador
Las Bolas de Fuego (photo by Mario Pleitez)

There are two legends about the origin of this unusual tradition. The first one says that the event is organized in the memory of the eruption of El Payon volcano in 1658. This eruption forced the people to leave and move to the new location. There is also a religious explanation for everything. It says that the locals are celebrating San Jeronimo (Saint Jerome) who fought the Devil with balls of fire. People are thanking him because of the fact that nobody was hurt during the eruption in 1917.