On the first Sunday of the year, residents of the Spanish town of Silió take part in La Vijanera festival, marking the beginning of longer days following the winter solstice and representing the triumph of good over evil. It is believed to have originated from pagan rituals of local tribes, although this remains uncertain.

La Vijanera
A man dressed as a 'Trapajon' wearing tree bark poses for a portrait during the Vijanera festival Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

The festival involves roughly 60 characters, all of whom are male. Their costumes represent nature, animals and humans and are made out natural materials that can be found nearby such as tree bark, sheep wool and leaves. Participants also wear bells on their backs to ward off evil spirits that may visit during the New Year. The bells also wake up the land so it can be ready to give prosperous harvest in spring. IBTimesUK presents some of the best photos from the rural fiesta:

Visit the International Business Times UK Pictures page to see our latest picture galleries.