AP PHOTOS: Masked devils dance in Ecuadorean mountain town

Thousands of singing and dancing devils took taken over a mountain town in Ecuador for six days of revelry in the streets.

The procession of dancers in elaborate devil masks is the centerpiece of an annual festival in the town of Pillaro in the Ecuadorean Andes.

This year, about 3,000 devils took over the center of the town from Jan. 1-6, dancing without pause for at least five hours a day.

The devils wear huge masks, red suits, black cloaks, and elaborate wigs. Some dancers dress as street sweepers while some men wear women's clothes. Local legend holds that anyone who adopts a costume for the celebration and wears it at the event six years in a row will have good luck.

Local men began disguising themselves as devils back in the 17th century in hopes of driving away their rivals. The Ecuadorean cultural ministry in 2009 declared the festival to be cultural patrimony.


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