January 17, 2008

Blessing of the Animals

"Whether you're a cat, dog, tortoise or spider, today's your day. Visit St. Anthony to get your blessing." Click photo for a larger view.

The tradition of blessing animals began, so they say, with Saint Anthony [not St. Anthony of Padua and the eponymous California mission, the other one] in the third or fourth century. Today, January 17, is his feast day, and in Madrid and other communities the dogs, cats, fish, birds, hamsters and iguanas are lining up -- along with turtles, sheep, tarantulas, horses and hermit crabs -- to receive their blessings. [As it happens, Anthony is considered one of the first Christian hermits.]

The photo above and the smaller one on the left were snagged from El País, where you can find an article [in Spanish -- Google Translate Beta will be glad to translate for you] about Madrid's celebration. In L.A. the blessing of the animals is held in April. Way too cold in January, she said on a beautiful 63F day ;~)

1 comment:

Partly Cloudy Knitter said...

So how did Minnesota get this mixed up with St Francis? We do the blessing of the animals in October. Hmmm ... probably too cold in MN in January. We would be blessing with frozen holy water. Ouch!