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Saturday: 80th Blessing of the Animals at Olvera Street

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Wednesday, March 31, 2010, at 03:40PM
blessing Ed Fuentes

Cardinal Roger Mahony sprinkles holy water during the 2009 Blessing of the Animals.

Downtown pets of all sorts are invited to make their way to the city's birthplace this Saturday for the 80th annual Blessing of the Animals at the El Pueblo Historical Monument. Put on by the Olvera Street Merchants Association, festivities run from noon to 5pm, with the procession from Olvera Street at 2pm.

Leading the parade is, by tradition, the humble bovine dressed in a sarape made of flowers, representing the services given to the human race by the animal kingdom.

Of course, Downtowners and their pets have made this a tradition as well, joining those who bring clawed and pawed companions to be blessed with holy water by Cardinal Roger Mahony. Downtown's dogs have been joining long-time Blessing regulars, like the yellow python from north of LA who slinks by the name Ventura.

The ceremony of Blessing of the Animals dates back to the fourth century, when San Antonio de Abad was recognized as the Patron Saint of the Animal Kingdom.

This year the Los Angeles ceremony falls on Easter weekend, and at the start of a City of L.A. directed "cooling off" period between merchants and El Pueblo officials in the midst of debates over rate increases.

Despite that, the barks and moos from one of L.A.'s oldest and endearing traditions go on.

Blessing of the Animals / Olvera Street at El Pueblo Historical Monument / Saturday, April 3, noon to 5pm / Main and Alameda / Public parking lots on Main, Los Angeles and Alameda Streets


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