Chinese villagers bathe in fiery sparks to wash away evil spirits

UPDATED ON FEB 18, 2017 04:38 PM IST 12 Photos
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A villager performs the 'eating flowers' ritual. Villagers in eastern China have a unique way of washing away the taint of evil spirits -- by bathing in a shower of scorching sparks. (Johannes EISELE / AFP)

A villager performs the 'eating flowers' ritual. Villagers in eastern China have a unique way of washing away the taint of evil spirits -- by bathing in a shower of scorching sparks. (Johannes EISELE / AFP)

UPDATED ON FEB 18, 2017 04:38 PM IST
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Zheng Yinquan burning incense before performing the 'eating flowers' ritual. (Johannes EISELE / AFP)

Zheng Yinquan burning incense before performing the 'eating flowers' ritual. (Johannes EISELE / AFP)

UPDATED ON FEB 18, 2017 04:38 PM IST
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Villagers in eastern China have a unique way of washing away the taint of evil spirits -- by bathing in a shower of scorching sparks. (Johannes EISELE / AFP)

Villagers in eastern China have a unique way of washing away the taint of evil spirits -- by bathing in a shower of scorching sparks. (Johannes EISELE / AFP)

UPDATED ON FEB 18, 2017 04:38 PM IST
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Two villagers having a chat in front of a stage before the start of the 'eating flowers' ritual. (Johannes EISELE / AFP)

Two villagers having a chat in front of a stage before the start of the 'eating flowers' ritual. (Johannes EISELE / AFP)

UPDATED ON FEB 18, 2017 04:38 PM IST
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The ritual takes place in the city of Putian in Fujian province, where China’s Hakka people hold extended celebrations for the annual Lantern Festival, which officially fell on February 11. (Johannes EISELE / AFP)

The ritual takes place in the city of Putian in Fujian province, where China’s Hakka people hold extended celebrations for the annual Lantern Festival, which officially fell on February 11. (Johannes EISELE / AFP)

UPDATED ON FEB 18, 2017 04:38 PM IST
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The ‘eating flowers’ ritual involves leaning bare chested into fireworks that spit out white sparks. (Johannes EISELE / AFP)

The ‘eating flowers’ ritual involves leaning bare chested into fireworks that spit out white sparks. (Johannes EISELE / AFP)

UPDATED ON FEB 18, 2017 04:38 PM IST
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Villager getting ready to perform the 'eating flowers' ritual. The ceremony in the village of Fangshan begins when eight local men selected by village elders don ancient-style Chinese dress to pray in a temple for protection from the Buddha. (Johannes EISELE / AFP)

Villager getting ready to perform the 'eating flowers' ritual. The ceremony in the village of Fangshan begins when eight local men selected by village elders don ancient-style Chinese dress to pray in a temple for protection from the Buddha. (Johannes EISELE / AFP)

UPDATED ON FEB 18, 2017 04:38 PM IST
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With eyes closed, they lean their faces into fireworks that spit out white sparks, which has given the ceremony its local name, “eating flowers”. (Johannes EISELE / AFP)

With eyes closed, they lean their faces into fireworks that spit out white sparks, which has given the ceremony its local name, “eating flowers”. (Johannes EISELE / AFP)

UPDATED ON FEB 18, 2017 04:38 PM IST
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A villager burning incense and paper money before the start of the 'eating flowers' ritual. (Johannes EISELE / AFP)

A villager burning incense and paper money before the start of the 'eating flowers' ritual. (Johannes EISELE / AFP)

UPDATED ON FEB 18, 2017 04:38 PM IST
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A Fangshan villager performs the ‘eating flowers’ ritual - bathing in a shower of scorching sparks - to wash away the taint of evil spirits. (Johannes EISELE / AFP)

A Fangshan villager performs the ‘eating flowers’ ritual - bathing in a shower of scorching sparks - to wash away the taint of evil spirits. (Johannes EISELE / AFP)

UPDATED ON FEB 18, 2017 04:38 PM IST
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A villager performs the ‘eating flowers’ ritual in Fangshan, a region where China’s Hakka people are concentrated. (Johannes EISELE / AFP)

A villager performs the ‘eating flowers’ ritual in Fangshan, a region where China’s Hakka people are concentrated. (Johannes EISELE / AFP)

UPDATED ON FEB 18, 2017 04:38 PM IST
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Zheng Yinquan (C) having dinner in front of the temple before performing the 'eating flowers' ritual. (Johannes EISELE / AFP)

Zheng Yinquan (C) having dinner in front of the temple before performing the 'eating flowers' ritual. (Johannes EISELE / AFP)

UPDATED ON FEB 18, 2017 04:38 PM IST
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