Sunday, blessed Sunday
Good morning world, it´s a brand new day! And a Sunday as well; what could be better? Well, this particular Sunday is what.
Today is 15th January, which this year happens to be the day for The Blessing of the Animals, by St. Anthony. Don´t have it in your neck of the woods? You don´t know what you´re missing! We first came across it by accident. We had gone down to the sea for a stroll and a drink, and noticed that there seemed to be an awful lot of dogs on leads. Large dogs. Immense dogs, towing their owners behind them. Small dogs. Tiny dogs, gripped firmly in arms. Most – but by no means all – of the dogs were held on to by children. Odd, we thought.
It was only when we saw a number of cats - one on a lead, and very vocally indignant about it as well - and two in baskets that we began to wonder. And then we noticed a goat. On a lead. Obviously a very special goat, this. Its mane had been groomed. Its hooves shone with oil. Its coat gleamed. I patted it, and it its owner smirked happily.
We had to follow that goat! There was obviously something special going on, and we were intrigued. We followed the growing swell of owners and pets down to the sea front, and there discovered what all the fuss was about. A local priest – acting as proxy for the absent St. Anthony – was blessing each and every animal, bird, reptile and fish in a long queue. And no, “fish” was not a typo. There were a number of proud owners carrying goldfish in bowls. Carefully. A couple of very large iguanas, perched happily on their owners´ shoulders. Several caged birds, who were being eyed avidly by the cats. But the odd thing was, all the animals were well behaved. By and large, the dogs ignored the cats, who in their turn made no attempt to have either the fish or the birds for lunch.
It was lovely. Each animal was blessed, and tugged away by its owner. Generally in the direction of a number of very large tents which had been erected at the side of the promenade. Here, it turned out, food – a huge selection of very tempting tapas – was free. Fair enough, you had to pay for your drinks but they were not highly priced.
And everybody – animal and human alike – was having a wonderful time.
This year, our nearest village is making a real event of the Blessing. Not just St. Anthony and the animals but food tasting! Bars open all day! Lunch! Entertainment!
The sun´s shining, so guess where I´m going as soon as I can get the dog´s lead on him …..?
Remind me; next week I have a little ghost story to tell you.