'Devilish' dancers invade Ecuador highlands town

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'Devilish' dancers invade Ecuador highlands town
CORRECTS LENGTH OF FESTIVAL FROM EIGHT TO SIX DAYS - A man dressed as a 'devil' takes part in the âDiabladaâ festival, in Pillaro, Ecuador, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016. 'Devilsâ invade this highlands town just before New Yearâs and take over its streets for six days, donning fearful masks to dance to the rhythms of local bands. The annual festival fills blocks of this Andean town south of Quito and ends on Three Kings Day, the Roman Catholic holiday. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)
Guarichas, a Quichua word to describe single women in search of husbands to take care of their guaguas, a Quichua word for babies, take part in the âDiabladaâ festival, in Pillaro, Ecuador, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016. 'Devils,â line dancers, musicians and guarichas invade this highlands town just before New Yearâs and take over its streets for six days, marking the annual festival that fills the streets of this Andean town, south of Quito, and ends on Three Kings Day, the Roman Catholic holiday. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)
A musician jokes around with a monkey mask as he waits for his group to begin their procession to downtown Pillaro, Ecuador, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, for the "Diablada" festival. Diabladas are held annually in several Andean nations. They mix pre-colonial with Catholic traditions, celebrating the clash of good and evil. One popular explanation for the Pillaro version is that it began as a way for men to anonymously court women. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)
CORRECTS LENGTH OF FESTIVAL FROM EIGHT TO SIX DAYS - A man dressed as a 'devil' dances during the âDiabladaâ festival, in Pillaro, Ecuador, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016. 'Devilsâ invade this highlands town just before New Yearâs and take over its streets for six days, donning fearful masks to dance to the rhythms of local bands. The masks that participants don typically include enormous horns, pointed ears and diabolical smiles. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)
CORRECTS LENGTH OF FESTIVAL FROM EIGHT TO SIX DAYS - Two boys watch visitors and residents take part in the âDiabladaâ festival, in Pillaro, Ecuador, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016. 'Devilsâ invade this highlands town just before New Yearâs and take over its streets for six days, donning fearful masks to dance to the rhythms of local bands. Plenty of liquor is imbibed and local fare consumed and street vendors take advantage of the influx of thousands of tourists to sell their wares. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)
Bailarines de linea, or line dancers, mark the start of their group's procession to downtown Pillaro, Ecuador, Tuesday,Jan.5, 2016, to take part in the âDiabladaâ festival. Diabladas are held annually in several Andean nations. They mix pre-colonial with Catholic traditions, celebrating the clash of good and evil. One popular explanation for the Pillaro version is that it began as a way for men to anonymously court women. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)
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PILLARO, Ecuador (AP) — The 'devils' invade this picturesque highlands town on New Year's Day and take over the streets for six days, donning fearful masks to dance to the rhythms of local bands.

Ecuador's annual 'Diablada' festival fills 12 blocks of this town 60 miles (100 kilometers) south of Quito and ends on Three Kings Day, the Roman Catholic holiday celebrated on Jan. 6

Plenty of liquor is imbibed and local fare consumed while street vendors take advantage of the influx of thousands of tourists to sell paintings of the Virgin Mary.

'Diablada' festivals are held in several Andean nations. They mix pre-colonial with Catholic traditions, celebrating the clash of good and evil.

One popular explanation for the Pillaro version is that it began as a way for men to anonymously court women.

The masks that participants don typically include enormous horns, pointed ears and diabolical smiles. Costumes extend to black capes and long tails.

___

This story has been corrected to say that the festival begins on New Year's Day and lasts 6 days.


Related: Spain celebrates Three Kings Day:
Three Kings Parade Through Madrid Streets
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