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Sagra di Sant’Antonio: Blessings for Innocent Animals & Children

Venice’s Sagra di Sant’Antonio, or the Festival of Saint Anthony, is held every 16 and 17. January at the Piazza della Motta. It is here where animals and children are blessed in the. tradition of the festival which begins with a bonfire outside two Venice churches on the. square of the della Motta on 16 January each year.

For your Venice holiday, this is one of many Venice festivals well worth partaking. It. also affords those who travel to Venice to catch a glimpse of Veneitians out and about as. they celebrate the beloved St. Anthony. Tourists can enjoy delectable snacks that mark. the festival along the charming and cherished, narrow streets Venice streets.

Before the evening bonfire on 16 January, which is a long-held tradition commemorating. the Festival of St. Anthony, two Masses are held during the day on January 16 near the. Piazza della Motta.

The crisp Venice evening then captures the spirited bonfire that originated from the days. when men emigrated to Switzerland and Germany. Upon returning home to Venice,. Italy, they wrote down requests for love and threw them into the bonfire, asking St.. Anthony to provide them with companionship and romance, and, ultimately, a marriage. partner to love for the rest of their lives.

Women were known to recite the following rhyme: "St. Anthony of purscèl / fam. Truva om it a nice / Damel Picula Damel grand / but my Damel Stort with the legs" (St.. Anthony's pig, let me find a man to marry, whether large or small, but not with crooked. legs).

St. Anthony was an Egyptian hermit who had a pet pig. He was eventually honoured. as the patron of domestic animals as well as ilfuoco, or those who worked in a variety. of economic and labour sectors such as Venice employers, employees, etc. Venetians. also prayed to St. Anthony for love. Even today, those seeking marriage are encouraged. to attend Mass on the day of Sagra di Sant’Antonio – this is considered a lucky day for. finding a mate!

But back to St. Anthony’s pig. His pet pig came to wreak havoc among demons whilst. St. Anthony was credited with curing a skin disease now known as shingles. However,. according to legend, Venetians believed that St. Mark’s soul was destined for hell since. he worked with sinners, praying for their forgiveness. This was seen as unnecessary. and harmful conduct, and associations not befitting a man of supposed honour and. capabilities of curing diseases.

Venice is cloaked in history and so time marched on with the good works of St. Anthony. far outweighing the judgmental associations he had with sinners for whom he helped seek. forgiveness.

Sagra di Sant’Antonio concludes on the morning of 17 January with another Mass in. one of the churches near the Piazza (square) della Motta in Venice. At the conclusion. of the Mass, visitors can observe the release of several balloons in the Piazza which. represent blessings for all children and animals. Another sight to behold during Sagra. di Sant’Antonio is the many residents bringing their domestic pets to the church for. blessings, including horses.

When looking for things to do in Venice, this is one of the many religious festivals. the city proudly celebrates. And it is the only festival that celebrates the innocence of. children and animals, along with new romance. What is not to like about that?

References:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEqcDbwCZvg

 

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