Last Saturday I had a strange text from one of my friends, a lot more enigmatic than usual. He wanted to know if we were up to going to see the blessing of the animals in the town square. I thought it was another one of those Spanish idioms and or sayings with an alternate meaning, but then I found out, there was something really happening that involved animals in town being blessed by the local priest.

According to the legend, on January 17 regions in Spain celebrate and commemorate the patron saint of farmers, San Anton Abad proclaimed protector of the animals. Many furry and feathery creatures including chickens, goats, horses, donkeys, rabbits, cats, dogs, you name it, they line up to take their turn to be blessed.

As the story goes, San Antonio Abad amid the austere life he led, discovered the wisdom and love while observing nature. And with that he aquired the habit of blessing the animals and plants. Since his death, San Antonio Abad was invoked as patron and protector of livestock pets which is still celebrated in Spain today.

San Antonio Abad
Image: Courtesy of Campo Pedralba

However, this little event in the village of Pedralba is pretty tame, compared to a spectacle seen in the village of San Bartolomé de Pinares near Madrid. Where the ritual of riding the horses through bonfires is believed to purify them and protect them for the year to come. Impressive images, but I’m not too sure about getting the horses to jump through flames, whatever happen with just using water?!

Unfortunately, we had other plans, and we couldn’t make it, it’s something that I would have loved to have seen and photographed. There is always next year, and you never know I might even bring my cat.

Anyway my good friend manage to grab a video drone of them coming back from the village. Cue the wild west ambience, and enjoy an aerial view of the Valencian countryside.

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British/Filipina now living in Valencia, Spain. Mum, wife, designer and illustrator. I am also the author of Ohla Living where I share my lifestyle, travel, recipes and creative ideas.

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