Festa di Sant’Antonio Abate

January 17th – feast day of Sant’Antonio Abate, also known as Anthony the Great, Anthony of the Desert, and Father of All Monks among other titles. Widely popular in italian proverbs and idioms, St. Anthony was the one to turn to when something went missing or was lacking in your life. Searching for a husband? Misplaced your gold ring? He is your saint.

“Sant’Antonio fammi sposare che sono stufa di tribolare”.
(St. Anthony find me a husband as I’m sick of being single.)
or
“Sant’Antonio con i pantoloni di velluto, fammi ritrovare quello che ho perduto”.
(St. Anthony with the velvet pants, let me find what I’ve lost.)

As the patron saint of butchers, farmers, ranchers, and protector of farm and domestic animals, festivals held in his honor occur during the week leading up to the 17th. Small or large, it’s a way to explore local neighborhoods, but it is especially big with pet owners when the priest does a blessing of the animals.

Santa Maria la Vite convent

This past Sunday we went to one such occasion in nearby Olginate. They had games for the kids, a marching band, roasting chestnuts, open house of a 13th century convent (above), and a big tent offering set menus accompanied by the local beer. They fed us well for 43€!

Sant'Antonio Abate Sunday lunch
1. 2 plates of local salumi and cheese 2. fried tiny lakefish with lemon 3. buckwheat polenta 4. risotto with braised pork ribs

Tender braised pork shank on polenta and a couple of zeppole (like a cream puff shaped in a donut). Everything was spot on delicious and perfect on that cold and windy afternoon.
Sant'Antonio Abate Sunday lunch

Given the sociable predisposition of dogs it was no surprise that there were lots of them and zero cats. Big dogs, little dogs, happy dogs, yappy dogs, quiet dogs, psycho dogs, and then there was Maddie the flirt and Mister the I-don’t-want-to-fit-in-the-photo.

Sant'Antonio Abate dogs

In Veneto, legend has it that animals acquire the ability to speak on the night of January 17. During this time farmers stayed clear of the barn because to hear animals talking was seen as a bad omen. Oh where is Dr. Doolittle when you need him?

Sant'Antonio Abate dog blessing

If these two could speak I can tell you what they’d be saying. FEED US!

Maddie and Mister 2 peas...

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6 thoughts on “Festa di Sant’Antonio Abate

  1. Pingback: Best of 2015 | Rubber Slippers In Italy

  2. Laura

    Cute! They used to do a pet service to bless the animals in my village. It was wonderful. People brought cats, rats, budgies, horses, goats and dogs… the lot. Good memories!

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