In my photobook, “Devils & Angels, Ritual Feasts in Europe” I scoured the European continent in search of local traditions and celebrations. In total, I ended up spending ten years compiling these strange and varied rituals. In the process, I visited gatherings in 16 different European countries.

But these photos are about more than the festivals themselves. They are about a Europe that goes deeper than the politics of Brussels, of Berlin, of the artificially created European Union. These photos (and celebrations) bring together stories and religions and beliefs that underscore the individual uniqueness of the communities that make up Europe—as well as the surprising similarities and parallels that can be found across this old continent. The focal point throughout is the immaterial cultural heritage of Europe, a heritage in which the local tradition remain visible, in spite of the increasing calls for unity.

—Friso Spoelstra

Editor’s Note: Spoelstra’s images are bursting off the page, animated by the same vibrant, infectious energy that has sustained these traditions and celebrations for centuries—if not millennia—in their respective communities. The photos above are just a small taste of what Spoelstra captured during his decade-long hunt across Europe. A full selection of his images has been put together in a beautifully-made book (designed by the famed Teun van der Heijden) which is available below.

Devils & Angels Ritual Feasts In Europe
by Friso Spoelstra
Publisher: Lecturis
Paperback: 304 pages

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