The blessing of the animals is an essential and indispensable part of Mallorca’s Sant Antoni celebrations. The ritual is called Beneïdes and quite possibly has its origins in pre-Christian times when country people depended on wind and weather for pure survival, as did their animals. The gods were implored, offerings were made to them and water was used to appease the deities.
Nowadays, only the rural Mallorca still depends on farming and agriculture, even though the dependence is much reduced now. Still, it is an annual celebration to bring farm and domestic animals to the local village church to benefit from the Sant Antoni blessing rite. Sant Antoni is the patron saint of animals. Dogs and horses, sheep and geese, rabbits and cats, birds and donkeys, even snakes and rats make an appearance in the act of Beneïdes (blessings) celebrations.
Later in the year, cars, motor bikes, tractors and other motor vehicles will be brought to be blessed by the priest of behalf of Sant Cristòfol (July 10th).
The photo (bottom) was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of sonnegre.es.