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Blessing of the animals on St. Anthony’s Day

The hand of Santiago Fulero, Major priest of the Saint Pablo church, blesses people with their pets outside of the church, during the feast of St. Anthony, Spain’s patron saint of animals, in Zaragoza, northern Spain, Wednesday, Jan.17, 2018. (Photo: Alvaro Barrientos/AP)

Blessing of the animals on St. Anthony's Day

The feast of St. Anthony, Spain’s patron saint of animals, is celebrated each year. On that day, pet owners bring their pets to churches to be blessed.

On the eve of St. Anthony’s Day, riders guide their horses through a bonfire in the village of San Bartolome de Pinares as part of the Luminarias ritual in honor of St. Anthony the Abbot. This 500-year-old tradition is meant to purify the animals with the smoke of the bonfires and to protect them for the year. (AP/Reuters)

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