Voodoo was officially declared a religion in Benin in 1996.Benin’s Voodoo Festival is held every year and is the West African country’s most vibrant and colorful event. It attracts thousands of devotees and tourists for a day filled with ritual dances and gin drinking.
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For years, herder Gelegrash had a sideline bringing tourists to see a dinosaur skull hidden near the Flaming Cliffs in Mongolia’s Gobi desert. Then, one day, it was gone. It is one of thousands of ancient fossils that have disappeared from the country since American explorer Roy Chapman Andrews — supposedly the inspiration for the movie character Indiana Jones — discovered dinosaur eggs there nearly a century ago.
Japanese bathers pray for the healthy new year while dipping in a cold water tub with blocks of ice at a park adjacent to Teppozu Inari Shinto Shrine during a winter ritual in Tokyo, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017. About 100 people gathered for the mid-winter event to pray for their healthy new year and displayed their perseverance.
Sitting before a bright orange flame, Vietnamese blacksmith Nguyen Phuong Hung prods a fire pit with a long metal rod before he hammers, bends, and contorts glowing steel into a giant drill bit. Hung, who toils away in his tiny corner stall in downtown Hanoi, is the last remaining blacksmith on Hanoi’s Lo Ren street, named after the masters of metal it was once known for.
People visit ice sculptures illuminated by colored lights at the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival to celebrate the new year in Harbin on January 4, 2017.
Jockeys compete in a race for purebred Arab horses during the Liwa 2017 Moreeb Dune Festival on January 3, 2017, in the Liwa desert, some 250 kilometres west of the Gulf emirate of Abu Dhabi. The festival, which attracts participants from around the Gulf region, includes a variety of races (cars, bikes, falcons, camels and horses) or other activities aimed at promoting the country’s folklore.
Gondolas sit on the muddy sea bed of the Venetian lagoon in the Riva del Vin area, in Venice, Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016. An uncommon low tide hampered boat circulation in many areas of the city that is built on an archipelago where canals serve the function of roads.
During this 200-year-old traditional festival participants known as Els Enfarinats (those covered in flour) dress in military clothes and stage a mock coup d’etat as they battle using flour, eggs and firecrackers outside the city town hall as part of the celebrations of the Day of the Innocents.
Participants of the 78th edition of the annual Christmas swimming “Coupe de Noel” celebrate before jumping into the Lake Geneva, in Geneva, Switzerland, Sunday, Dec. 18, 2016. More than 1,800 men and women swam the 120 meters at the traditional Christmas swimming in Geneva, where the water temperature was at 44 degrees Fahrenheit.