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Bonfires of Saint John and Corpus Christi

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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]

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A long-exposure image shows light trails, produced by faithful carrying candles as they walk past the Cathedral during a Corpus Christi procession in Brasilia, Brazil, on Thursday, June 23, 2011. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
A long-exposure image shows light trails, produced by faithful carrying candles as they walk past the Cathedral during a Corpus Christi procession in Brasilia, Brazil, on Thursday, June 23, 2011. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
A horse rears in a crowd during the traditional Saint John's festival in the town of Ciutadella, on the Balearic Island of Menorca, Spain, on June 23, 2011, on the eve of Saint John's day. (Jaime Reina/AFP/Getty Images) #
Horse riders take part in the traditional Saint John's festival in the town of Ciutadella, Spain, on June 24, 2010, on Saint John's day. (Jaime Reina/AFP/Getty Images) #
A boy attempts to spear a suspended ring on horseback, during the traditional Saint John's festival in Ciutadella, Spain, on June 24, 2010, on Saint John's day. (Jaime Reina/AFP/Getty Images) #
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 reveler carries a woman on his back as she reacts while he walks on the burning embers during the night of San Juan in San Pedro Manrique, Spain, Friday, June 24, 2011. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos) #
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) #
A couple plays at the seashore on June 24, 2011, during Saint John's night in Malaga, Spain. On this night, people burn objects they no longer want and make wishes as they jump through the flames or swim in the sea. (Jorge Guerrero/AFP/Getty Images) #
People dance around a bonfire during Saint John's night in northern Spanish town of Oviedo, late June 23, 2011. (Reuters/Eloy Alonso) #
An actress performs during the traditional Saint John's night in Oviedo, Spain, on June 23, 2011. (Reuters/Eloy Alonso) #
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) #
A man dressed as a devil takes part in a parade celebrating the Catholic festival of Corpus Christi in Ocumare de la Costa in the central state of Aragua, Venezuela, on June 23, 2011. (Reuters/Jorge Silva) #
A man is viewed through the eyeholes of a devil mask during a parade celebrating the Catholic festival of Corpus Christi in Ocumare de la Costa, Venezuela, on June 23, 2011. (Reuters/Jorge Silva) #
A girl prays inside the house of San Juan, the patron saint of Ocumare de la Costa, on the eve of San Juan Day on June 23, 2011. (Reuters/Jorge Silva) #
A person dressed as a devil dances during a parade celebrating the Catholic festival of Corpus Christi in Ocumare de la Costa,Venezuela, on June 23, 2011. (Reuters/Jorge Silva) #
A man dressed as a devil, dances during the celebrations of the Catholic Corpus Christi in Naiguata, Venezuela, Thursday, June 23, 2011. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos) #
A man smokes a cigar before participating at the celebrations of the Catholic Corpus Christi in Naiguata, Venezuela, on Thursday, June 23, 2011. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos) #
Riflemen wearing traditional costumes during a Corpus Christi procession, in Lofer in the Austrian province of Salzburg, on Thursday, June 23, 2011. (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson) #
A traditionally dressed Bavarian boy watches a Corpus Christi procession in Seehausen, near Murnau, southern Germany, on Thursday, June 23, 2011. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader) #
Mexican Cardinal Norberto Rivera blesses priests during the mass commemorating the Catholic feast of Corpus Christi in Mexico City, on Thursday, June 23, 2011. (AP Photo/Miguel Tovar) #
Chinelo dancers prepare to perform during Corpus Christi celebrations near the Metropolitan Cathedral in Mexico City, on Thursday, June 23, 2011. (AP Photo/Miguel Tovar) #
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 child dressed in a native outfit stands outside a church during the Corpus Christi celebration in Mexico City, on June 23, 2011. (Reuters/Carlos Jasso) #
Revelers throw water on a passing motorist during the celebration of the feast of Saint John the Baptist, on Friday, June 24, 2011 in suburban San Juan, east of Manila, Philippines. (AP Photo/Pat Roque) #
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) #
Guatemala's Bishop Oscar Julio Vian, center, leads a procession during Corpus Christi celebrations in Guatemala City, Thursday June 23, 2011. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd) #
People pray during Corpus Christi celebrations in Guatemala City, Thursday June 23, 2011. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd) #
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) #
A worker adds the finishing touches to one of the floral decorations along the main street of Genzano, Italy, on June 19, 2011, during the traditional "infiorata". (Reuters/Alessia Pierdomenico) #
Visitors take a picture in front of one of the "infiorata" floral decorations along the main street of Genzano, Italy, on June 19, 2011. (Reuters/Alessia Pierdomenico) #
Pope Benedict XVI takes part in a candle-lit Corpus Domini (Corpus Christi) procession in downtown Rome, on June 23, 2011. (Reuters/Max Rossi) #
People walk near an earthquake-damaged house during a Corpus Christi procession in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Thursday, June 23, 2011. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery) #
A man controls the traffic during the Corpus Christi procession in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Thursday, June 23, 2011. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa) #
People wearing traditional devil costumes parade during Corpus Christi celebrations in La Villa, Panama, on Thursday, June 23, 2011. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco) #
A boy wearing traditional bird costume looks on during Corpus Christi celebrations in La Villa, Panama, on Thursday, June 23, 2011. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco) #
Dancers dressed as "Diablitos" or Devils perform during Corpus Christi Catholic celebrations in La Villa, Panama, on Wednesday, June 22, 2011. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco) #
A couple watches a bonfire on a beach on San Juan's (Saint John's) night, traditionally the shortest night of the year, in the southern Spanish town of Malaga, early on June 24, 2011. (Reuters/Jon Nazca) #

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