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Friday 17th January - Animal Christmas
13 January 2020 @ 12:33

Just when you thought the party was over another one comes along! The 17th of January marks the Saints Day for San Anton - San Antonio - St. Anthony. As children, if we lost something, then Saint Anthony would have been called upon to give a helping hand. But here in Spain, according to the Catholic church, San Antonio is the patron saint of animals, and his day is used as the perfect opportunity to bless all creatures great and small throughout the land. What a great excuse for another party! It’s Animal Christmas! Now it’s the four-legged kids’ turn to be the centre of attention!

 

 

The celebration involves blessing both the creatures and their owners and ensures another year of good health and protection. The animals will walk straight into church and sometimes dressed up for the occasion, so if you want to see a dog in a suit – this is the opportunity! San Antonio is celebrated all over Spain on January 17th – and is known as Fiesta de San Antón in Valencia, although on the 16th in Valencia a bonfire is set to burn stubble and waste from the fields. It is organised by the Brotherhood of San Antonio Abad and began to be commemorated as we know it today in the middle of the last century.  

San Antonio is the patron saint of farm animals and although domestic animals are also a part of celebration (dogs, cats, turtles, snakes, birds...) they stand in the first section of the parade and receive a “medalleta” - small medal - of San Antonio. Valencia's Sagunto Street is where the point of celebration takes place and where you can watch the Parade and three parish priests give out their blessings from a main stage to all participants.  

 

After the domestic pets, the mounted town's police in full uniform pays homage to the saint, followed by mounted national police corps after which carriages carrying the "panet, garrofeta and l'estampeta" amulets follow. Finally more horses, riders and other animals close the parade.

So if you happen to be in Valencia this January, you might like to take a look!



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