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Portuguese town encourages children to smoke at Epiphany

SeattlePI.com Sunday, 7 January 2018
VALE DE SALGUEIRO, Portugal (AP) — The Epiphany celebrations in the Portuguese village of Vale de Salgueiro feature a tradition that each year causes an outcry among outsiders: Parents encouraging their children, some as young as 5, to smoke cigarettes. Locals say the practice has been passed down for centuries as part of a celebration of life tied to the Christian Epiphany and the winter solstice — but nobody is sure what it symbolizes or exactly why parents buy the packs of cigarettes for their children and encourage them to take part. The two-day celebrations, which start Friday and end Saturday with a Mass, include dancing around bonfires, a piper playing music and an elected "king" who distributes plentiful wine and snacks.
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