I just found this short documentary by ROAR Media about the Mamuthones Parade, which is part of the San Antonio Festival celebrations in the Sardinian village of Mamoiada every January. Click on the link below, or here.
The Mamuthones, wearing black masks and around 20kg of iron and bronze bells, represent different manifestations of evil, while the Issohadores represent the forces of good that have come to exorcise evil and bring good luck.
The christian legend of San Antonio going down into hell to steal fire from the devil is itself based on the original Greek myth of Prometheus stealing the fire from Mount Olympus. Fire itself has many different meanings: in mythology, it often represents the spirit, an idea that is echoed in the depictions of the sacred heart in catholic imagery.
The idea of Hell itself as ‘a lake of fire’ where souls are eternally barbecued is very much a simplified Christian concept – the fire was a metaphor for cleansing, not punishment, and this was a temporary process, not ever-lasting. As for the origins of Hell, that’s a whole other story that deserves a post of its own!