As pet parents, we rarely look for an occasion to celebrate the existence of our beloved dogs because aren’t they a blessing we’re thankful for every day? However, in our post today, we’d like to draw your attention to four international festivals that celebrate these furry creatures with all the hype they deserve. Excited to learn more about them? Let’s get started.
Roch’s Day Parade
Before we delve into the importance of Bolivia’s St. Roch’s Day Parade, let’s tell you a little bit about Saint Roch himself. A Catholic saint born in Montpellier, St. Roch was the son of a wealthy nobleman who renounced all his wealth at 20 when his parents passed away. He then traveled to Rome to help the poor and needy at the time of the plague.
When caring for plague victims, Roch got infected himself and decided to spend the remainder of his life in the woods, away from people. It was here that a miraculous hunting dog found him and licked away all his wounds and illness. Because of this miracle, St. Roch is also referred to as the patron saint of dogs.
In the fond memory of this noble saint, his death anniversary on August 16th is celebrated every year in Bolivia as St. Roch’s Day, where people and their furry friends gather at the local church and have a feast. A parade takes place for eight days, where dogs are the stars of the show and arrive all dressed up and march together.
Since the US ranks the highest on the list of countries with the highest number of dogs, you can also find many festivals that celebrate them. Woofstock is America’s way of saying, “Yes, we love our dogs!”
Taking its inspiration from the Woodstock Music Festival, Woofstock is a two-day long dog-friendly family fair held at the beaches of Toronto in Canada and California. Countless people gather with their beloved pets to enjoy various activities and performances meant for dogs’ entertainment. The festival consists of dog shows and contests, food trucks, fun games, and fairs with all kinds of dog toys, treats, and accessories.
Did you know that dogs were considered the messengers of Yama, the God of Death in Hindu mythology? The festival of Kukur Tihar is celebrated in honor of Yama’s messengers in Nepal.
It is celebrated with much vigor throughout the country, where people bathe dogs, decorate them with tilak, drape garlands around their necks, and worship them. The dogs are then offered all of their favorite delicacies such as milk, meat, eggs, dog food, and treats.
Kukur Tihar occurs on the second day of the five-day long Tihar or Yamapanchak festival, which follows conventions similar to Diwali, but with significant differences. In India, the dog festival is celebrated in Sikkim, Darjeeling, and some areas of West Bengal.
Francis of Assisi Day
The St. Francis of Assisi Day is celebrated on October 4th every year throughout Spain, the US, and Canada, to honor the remarkable life and deeds of St. Francis, who was designated the patron saint of Italy but was more popularly known as the patron saint of animals. Francis believed in showing his devotion to God through his love for animals.
A feast is held in churches on St. Francis’ Day in celebration of his devotion, which many devotees and believers alike attend.
Another interesting aspect of this festival is the Blessing of Animals. In this tradition, any animal (pet or otherwise) who comes to the church’s doors will be welcomed and blessed. While this festival is not solely for dogs, it is certainly one you’d want to take them to.