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Fight fire with fire: Hundreds of Indian men try to set each other ablaze to appease goddess (VIDEO)

Fight fire with fire: Hundreds of Indian men try to set each other ablaze to appease goddess (VIDEO)
Thousands of awestruck onlookers gathered in Mangalore, India this past week to watch hundreds of men try to set each other on fire in an effort to appease the Hindu warrior goddess Durga.

Agni Keli, an eight-day, religious fire-throwing festival, draws international attention every April as hundreds of Indian men line up to try and set each other alight with burning palm leaves which are believed to destroy evil and cure disease.

Participants must remain 10 to 15 meters apart at all times and are limited to five throws, so must make each of them count. According to tradition, the Hindu goddess Durga fought off demons in the area who threatened the peace and safety of the locals. Now, worshippers commemorate the battle with their own ceremonial fire fight.

Similar festivals are held throughout the year in India to celebrate the Hindu pantheon.

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