Mallorca’s annual Sant Antoni celebrations include a ritual called Beneïdes (blessing of the animals). The origins of this tradition are probably pagan when in the countryside one suffered the weather and the elements for one’s survival. The role of farm animals was significant and help was begged from the deities for the creatures’ protection.
Nowadays, only rural Mallorca still depends on farming and agriculture, even though the dependence is much reduced these days. Still, Beneïdes is an important date in the calendar of the rural community. During the celebration, farm and domestic animals are paraded to the local parish church to benefit from the Sant Antoni blessing. The saint is the patron saint of animals. Dogs and horses, sheep and geese, rabbits and cats, birds and donkeys, sometimes even rats or snakes make an appearance in the act of these celebrations.
The photo was taken in Santanyí, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: January 17th, 2013. The time was 15:54:52.