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Jan 17
All day
Blessing of the Animals

This is a Hispanic Catholic Christian celebration.

The entire Roman Catholic Church marks the Feast of Anthony the Great, but Spanish and Mexican Catholics put color and flair into the celebration.  On this date the Spanish feast around bonfires and, in Mexico, devotees dress up their animals for an official blessing. Traditional accounts say that the 3rd century saint known as Anthony of Egypt was the first monk to live in the wilderness. As such, he became associated with the blessing of animals. For centuries, Mexicans have brought everything from pigs, cattle and livestock to cats, dogs and other household pets to church for a St. Anthony's blessing.

Non-Hispanic Christians associate animal blessings with St. Francis of Assisi, but St. Anthony preceded St. Francis of Assisi by more than 900 years.

As with many noted Christian figures, St. Anthony fled from a wealthy family and gave his riches to the poor before turning to a simple, holy life. St. Anthony's ascetic life spread the popularity of monasticism, and the biography of his life further spread the concept.


United Kingdom


Contact: Becky Lamyman
Categories: Religious festivals


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Last Updated: 10/01/2012