Blessing of the Animals of Santo António de Mixões da Serra

Vila Verde
The Church of Santo António de Mixões da Serra is situated on one of the highest peaks towards the north of the municipality of Vila Verde, approx. 800 meters of altitude, in the extension of the Serra Amarela and in adjoining area to the Peneda-Gerês National Park.

The Church of Santo António de Mixões da Serra emerged due to the small dimensions of that which was the first chapel built and inaugurated in 1607, in honour of St. Anthony, at Valdreu. According to the people, this chapel was born by fulfilment of a promise from the community of Santo António de Mixões da Serra that saw the constant devastation of their animals by a plague and by the wolves. But with the number of devotees increasingly growing, in 1916, the priest José Maria Dias decides to build a new temple in order to accommodate all the faithful of "Protector of Animals", which was completed by 13 June 1952.

Special attention goes to the place of Santo António de Mixões da Serra, a great viewpoint over Vila Verde and the secular Eucharistic tradition of the blessing of animals, which takes place on Sunday before June 13, where they join with their own animals of different breeds (cows, horses, dogs, cats, goats, sheep, etc. At the end of the Eucharist, with the animals and guided devotees facing the Church, the priest circulates among the people and animals sprinkling holy water and praying to God and Saint Anthony for the protection of animals.

Thousands of people and animals from various regions adjacent to Mixões, come to this pilgrimage, not only for the religious performances but also for the liveliness provided by folk groups, singing and music bands, the food and drink kiosks, improvised restaurants, sellers of fruit, bread and typical sweets which by this season fill this rustic small town.

Location: Vila Verde
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