St Anthony’s Day in Barcelona
We are in the midst of Christmas celebrations and the Catalans are already plotting more events and further fiesta! It can only be expected really as Barcelona always has a busy agenda and lots of activities on the cards, the reason for which the city receives so many visitors every year. The event we are referring to is the Cabalgata dels Tres Tombs, the Barcelona equivalent to the celebrations on the 17th of January, St Anthony’s Day which will be marked with huge processions making their way through the characteristic streets and districts of the Catalan capital.
On this special day visitors will be welcomed by a menagerie of animals, pets, and their owners filling the pavements given that St Anthony is none other than the patron of animals. Thus, a special parade is organised in his honour every year so all the animals in the city can be blessed and we’re not just talking about your average cats and dogs, but also donkeys, mules, and other unusual pets dressed up in colourful ribbons, paper, strings, and bells.
Visitors can also expect other bizarre goings-on and extraordinary events, as well some of the usual Catalan traditions taking place in various locations of the city such as the Sardana (Catalan dance), castellers (human pyramids), and a whole lot of fun. Further events include races, bonfires, lively music, traditional products and food of the region, and horses and carts as well as carriages making their way though the streets, and horsemen carrying the banner of St Anthony. The biggest celebrations take place in St Andreu followed by those held in Exiample, and the parade naturally starts on the Ronda Sant Antoni continuing through to Plaça Universitat, down Pelajo and finally concluding at Plaça Catalunya.
The story goes that St Anthony was summoned by the governor to cure his sick daughter, which he did. However, on his way out he came across some sick pigs that he approached, blessed, and cured, the reason for which in most images of Saint Anthony a pig appears by his side. To thank this great man the best horsemen would mount their horses and go around the main square in the city 3 times (tres tombs) in his honour.
So, if you love a celebration and lots of cute, cuddly animals (including those that aren’t) then this is the perfect event for you during your stay in Barcelona this winter season.
Anna – Marketing Team