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Monkeys gathering around a bonfire in Aichi zoo winter solstice custom

Monkeys gathering around a bonfire in Aichi zoo winter solstice custom

Monkeys at a zoo in Aichi Prefecture, central Japan, are gathering around a bonfire to warm up in the winter cold.

The Japan Monkey Centre in Inuyama City showcases the event every year. The custom began nearly 60 years ago since 1959 when zookeepers made a bonfire for themselves, and the monkeys who are usually scared of fire moved closer to enjoy its warmth.

On Tuesday, the day before Winter Solstice, members of the media were invited to watch the monkeys gathering around the fire to warm their stomachs and backs and to eat roasted sweet potatoes.