January 17, 2014. Horses, cows, pigs and chickens left the country side for a few hours and made it to St. Peter's Square. It's a trip they make every year, on January 17th to mark the Feast Day of St. Anthony Abbot, the patron saint of animals.
Despite the cold and rainy weather, farmers made it a point to bring their animals so they could be blessed in the very heart of Rome.
"We brought our bull so it could receive a blessing. We're hoping everything goes well with our farm this year. That our livestock will have offspring and just in general that we have a good year at the farm.”
For hours, these animals were the center of attention. Since they were the stars of the show, they were covered from the rain and just in case, there were also vets on stand by.
"Precisely to honor the work of St. Anthony Abbot, we've decided to work for free today and offer our services to anyone who wants to have their pets or livestock checked.”
And since every celebration needs a bit of music, there was also a parade.
Following tradition, Cardinal Angelo Comastri blessed the animals and their owners, just steps away from St. Peter's Square.
A tradition to start the year off right, hoping for blessings and health for farmers and their livestock.