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In the soft morning drizzle, a handful of people line up before an altar-like mound of stones where a small fire crackles and hisses. Each person in turn throws a handful of old brushes into the blaze. The local garbage incinerator? No — this is ritual cremation.

“It’s in honor of the souls of the brushes for the work they’ve done,” a man explains.

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PHOTO GALLERY (CLICK TO ENLARGE)