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St Anthony’s Day 17 January

One of the many attractions that Spain holds for the visitor is surely the concept of the “fiesta”, the party, with many hundreds being held throughout the country, year-round. After the celebration of the arrival of the Three Kings on 06 January the next big, country-wide event in the annual fiesta calendar is St Anthony’s Day on 17 January. Saint Antonio Abad (San Antón) was reportedly born in Egypt in 251 and since the middle-ages has been regarded as the patron saint of domestic animals. On St Anthony’s Day throughout the country bonfires are lit and there are processions through the streets: all types of pets, from the usual cats and dogs to tortoises, terrapins and parrots, join their owners for the parade before receiving a Holy Blessing. The following YouTube video recorded at Pilar de la Horadada, Alicante, in 2009 will give you a flavour of the celebrations.
Each region of Spain has its own unique approach to the event and in Alicante some towns in the province hold “nut markets”: these Porrat de San Antón feature stalls with roasted chickpeas, hazelnuts, almonds, apricots, prunes and sweets like turrón de novia (bride´s nougat). In the following YouTube video, domestic animals, including horses, are paraded around the bull ring in Alicante City before receiving a blessing.
If you are planning your trip to Alicante in January why not make sure you are there at this time to join in the celebrations. Oh...and if you need to hire a car you know where we are: