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Brazil’s Cavalhadas festival celebrates victory of Iberian Christian knights over the Moors

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PIRENOPOLIS, Brazil (AP) — People in the heartland Brazilian city of Pirenopolis took to the streets on Sunday in a procession of the traditional Cavalhadas festival.

The tradition began in the 1800s with a Portuguese priest who wanted to celebrate the Holy Spirit — one of the entities of the Roman Catholic Church’s trinity — and also commemorate the victory of Iberian Christian knights over the Moors.

The Emperor of the Divine Holy Spirit procession started in the early hours in Pirenopolis, a city of 25,000 residents 150 kilometers (93 miles) west of the Brazilian capital Brasilia. Other countryside cities across the South American nation also celebrate the Cavalhadas festival.

The festivities include an open air reenactment of a battle between Christian warriors and Muslims. At the end, the defeated Moors are converted to Catholicism.

Associated Press