twenty four thousand sausages

Animal lovers have peculiar behaviors sometimes.  Like, for example, eating 24000 sausages in one day.

On the third week-end of January the village of Santa Maria degli Angeli near Assisi celebrates the feast of Saint Anthony Abbot . The Egyptian hermit is the patron  of domestic animals, especially pigs, as well as of butchers.  He has been invoked by farmers against a number of diseases including pestilence, herpes and , of course, various skin rashes.

Our local celebration originates from somewhere  in the XIX century when the end of a pestilence  decimating the village’s horses was attributed to a miracle of the  Saint. From that time on, the people of Santa Maria degli Angeli commemorates the miracle with a procession, the distribution of  the Piatto di Sant’Antonio (see below) and the blessing of domestic animals.

This year's
This year's proession was proudly preceeded by the Carabinieri cavalrly

People comes to watch the procession and to bring their pets for the blessing.  Pets are clad in  red to honor the Saint.

pets on the way to blessing
Pets on the way to be blessed

Animal lovers find all sorts of implements to carry their pet s.

a rabbit trolley, dog and rabbit pouches
A rabbit trolley, dog and rabbit pouches

Some are impeccably dressed.

dressed up for the eventDressed up for the event
The celebration is organized by a group of local men, the Priors, who carry the Statue of Saint Anthony during the procession.

The Procession of saint Anthony, his statue is carried by the Priors
The Procession of Saint Anthony, his statue is carried by the Priors

In addition, the Priors collect funds so that virtually everybody in the village can afford to go out and eat the “Piatto di Sant’ Antonio” a plate with pasta, meat and fruits that was originally distributed to the poor.  The plate is a carnivore feast including by regulation 4 pork sausages , two slices of roast and 2 meatballs.

So, with approx. 6000 participants, the local butchers have had enough work. The pets have been dressed up and blessed.  As in the best Italian tradition, everybody went home well fed and happy. Well,  may be not the pigs, but at least thay have been put out of their misery.