Beloved pets enjoyed the limelight in Mexico City on Monday (January 17) at a blessing ceremony to mark the feast day of Saint Anthony, known as the protector of animals.
Pet owners arrived with their beloved animals for a blessing and a sprinkling of holy water to protect them from danger and misfortune.
Dogs and parrots were taken to be blessed as well as two roosters.
“We are very tense due to this situation and they help us to forget about all of this (pandemic) because they do a lot of wonderful things. They are only three months old and have started to crow (in the morning),” Lucy Ortiz, who owns two roosters, told Reuters.
January 17 marks the anniversary of the death of Saint Anthony the Abbott, a fourth-century Christian who gave his inheritance to the poor and led a monastic life in the desert with only animals for company.
The old-age Catholic tradition was brought to Mexico during Spanish colonial rule by Franciscan monks in the 1500s and has been heartily embraced by animal lovers in Mexico City’s southern borough of Xochimilco due to the prominence of farmhouses in the area.
St. Anthony the Abbott was born in Egypt on the banks of the river Nile to a Christian family and is believed to have lost both his parents, who were very wealthy, at an early age.
He then chose to reject the life of luxury his heritage afforded him, giving his riches away to the poor in order to pursue a solitary life of spiritual enlightenment in the company of animals.