On a grey day in Madrid, I decided to walk around the trendy neighbourhood of Chueca. At one point, I came across two women with two dogs - dressed up completely. I followed them, mostly because I heard a brass band playing in the distance. After looking at the band for a while, I noticed there was a long queue on one side of the narrow street of Hortaleza. People were patiently lining up, and when I realized they all carried dogs, I got really curious. The line stopped at a high wooden door, in which a priest appeared.
The priest was blessing the animals, and as each person lifted his dog and he stepped forward to bless them, the line moved forward. People still in the queue were looking forward in anticipation to the people ahead of them, looking forward to have their animal blessed. Meanwhile, they were proudly displaying their animals to the audience and to other people who already had a blessed animal. Almost all animals were dogs, but I also saw some cats, while I understood that during the day, there had also been people with turtles, parrots and a falcon owned by the Spanish king.
Everywhere, people asked me and other photographers to have their picture taken. Many animals were dressed for the occasion. In some cases, this had an almost pathetic effect: there were old women with their dog dressed up like a baby, complete with hair decoration and necklace. They would cuddle their pet with affection. It was a very serious event, but I increasingly got a feeling of walking around in a movieset. People continued lining up to have their pet blessed, and I paid a short visit to the church of San Anton or Anthony the Great. It was his feast day (January 17), and he is the patron of animals and pets - hence the blessing on this day.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Animal blessing San Antón (Spain). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Animal blessing San Antón. Read more about this site.