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The Blessing of the Animals on San Anton Day in Spain

By - January 19, 2018
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The Day of Saint Antonio Abad was celebrated across Spain this week, as well as across countries all around the world where a unique Christian mass dedicated to all animals is held in a public square or at local churches.

In the town of Torrevieja in the Costa Blanca region of eastern Spain, local community members and beloved pets from all across the town gathered for the annual blessing ceremony.

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The Day of San Antonio Abad is held in mid January every year, for the saint who was revered as the protector and healer of animals. It is a well-loved day and animals from dogs and cats, to Turtles, Rabbits, Hamsters and even Horses and Donkeys are taken to their local churches and blessed by the priests.

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In the town of Torrevieja in Spain, local Priest Aurelio Ferrandiz Garcia told Newsivity:

“This is an annual celebration we have been commemorating in our town for decades and the tradition dates back all the way to the 5th century in Christianity. Local people always gather in their hundreds and bring along their beloved household pets to be blessed in a beautiful way and all in honour of San Antonio, the patron protector of all animals of the world.”

* NOTE: In the above video, Priest Aurelio Ferrandiz Garcia is speaking at the ‘Inmaculada Concepcion’ church, not Church Sagrado Corazon which is where one of the public blessings took place.

The story of San Antonio Abad, or San Antón, is that he was a Christian monk and founder of the eremitical movement. The story of his life presents the figure of a humbled man who grew in holiness through penance, sacrifice, philanthropy and compassion for others, in particularly to animals, and this made him a model for Christians worldwide. He is said to have indulged in a journey of self-discovery through a life spent in solitude and through this process he gave much to others and the world.

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It is known that he had abandoned all of his affluent assets to lead a hermit’s existence and that he attended several monastic communities in Egypt, remaining a hermit for much of his adult life. He is said to have reached one hundred and five years of age and he was well-known for his friendship and ability to heal animals.

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@vinsharma

@vinsharma/Newsivity

In this town in Spain, and as seen in the highlights video above .. members of the community all gathered with their pets and all received the public holy blessing from the church. It is the only day of the year when animals are all welcome to visit church officially and receive a blessing in such a unique way and it also acts as a great social event where animals and their owners all get to show off and interact with others and their well-loved pets.

@vinsharma / Newsivity

@vinsharma/Newsivity

It’s a beautiful old tradition that is enjoyed by community members of all faiths and beliefs .. and even without the pets, it’s a great gathering to spectate for everyone.

EMAIL: [email protected]

Special thanks to: Toni Morte Lopez
Filming / Photography / Edit by: @vinsharma

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