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Pets gather for blessings in Mexico

Beloved pets and their owners enjoyed a blessing ceremony to mark the feast day of Saint Anthony, known as the protector of animals.

A large amount of pet owners arrived with their pets for a blessing and a sprinkling of holy water to protect them from danger and misfortune.

January 17 marks the anniversary of the death of Saint Anthony the Abbott, a fourth-century Christian who gave his inheritance to the poor and led a monastic life in the desert with only animals for company.

The old-age Catholic tradition was brought to Mexico during Spanish colonial rule by Franciscan monks in the 1500s and has been heartily embraced by animal lovers in Mexico.

St Anthony the Abbott was born in Egypt on the banks of the Nile river to a Christian family, and is believed to have lost both his parents, who were very wealthy, at an early age.

He then chose to reject the life of luxury his heritage afforded him, giving his riches away to the poor in order to pursue a solitary life of spiritual enlightenment in the company of animals.

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