This fiesta in Javea, Costa Blanca, Spain, is in honour of San Antonio, patron saint of pets.
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Hundreds of pet owners bring their animals (often dressed on their Sunday best) to church on the day of St Anthony, Spain's patron saint of animals. Animals are said to have been instinctively drawn to Saint Anthony throughout his life. Anthony (born in Lisbon, Portugal in 1195) is often depicted addressing a menagerie of animals attentively listening to his words. The festival has been celebrated largely uninterrupted since the 19th century and is held in various parts of Spain.
The 2019 programme is not yet available. For guidance, please refer to the 2017 schedule below.
Sunday 15th January
11:00 Parade with animals from Old town to the Port and back to Old Town with Blessing of Animals (Plaza de la Constitución).
13:00 Religious celebration in the church Iglesia de la Virgen de Loreto, followed by blessing of animals in the Promenade. "In the name of San Anton, receive this blessing," the priest, decked out in white robes, says as he blesses the animals presented to him in the doorway of the church. Many believe the blessing will ensure a long and healthy life for their pets. After having their pets blessed each parishioner receives three bread rolls, one of which is traditionally kept for a year alongside a coin meant to ensure good health and to guarantee the blessing of the saint. The buns are baked according to a secret recipe meant to keep them soft.
Tuesday 17th January
12:00 Solemn Mass in Iglesia de la Virgen de Loreto, followed by blessing of animals in the port promenade.
Friday 20th January
17:00 Fairground for children.
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