On San Anton's Day, the villagers brought along their pets to the church at the Plaza Puchol to have them blessed. The people gathered outside the church on a cold January evening,with their dogs, cats, birds,and a chamelion . After the mass, the priest came out and express some animal prayers. Then i found him whisking the blessed water to the animals as each person lifted their pets. Afterwards, an Apperitivo was served. This the first time i'ved experience this event. Our Shayla was blessed too. I found it interesting.
In times gone by,the tradition was for the local farmers and small holders to bring along their animals for the blessing.
The village celebrates on the 17th of January the San Anton's Day. San Anton is the protector of animals and is held in towns and villages throughout Spain. Some places celebrate it a week long. It is held with mass, grilling with music and dancing (pasacalle). Finally, after the evening mass, the blessing of animals followed.
Why San Anton is seen to be the protector of animals:
The story goes that San Anton came across a female wild boar with her youngs who were blind. He cured their blindness and as a result the mother remained devoted to him. However as the pig or boar was believed to be an impure animal,thus shown as a supplicant at the saint's feet.
On summer months, a local advertising train-like automobile is commuting around the village with local lively music . It is sponsored by Aquapolis Waterpark and other firms.. Anybody can just hop in free and enjoy a drive around the area . The starting point is in front of the church at the Plaza and stop at the same place as well. A great fum for kids and adults especially on hot summer evenings.
La Mata is cebrating its town fiesta every first week of October, with music,dancing and religious acts during the day. The music band march playing their music around the village. It is very amusing, in every corner they are welcomed with some blast of firecrackers. The closing night is accompanied with a great fireworks display.
A very interesting local custom celebrated during the St Patron Week's Feast here in La Mata.We were so amazed observing the town folks preparing for this event. The locals gathered at the Plaza Embarcadero. We too and some tourists. The men usually do the building of their own stalls while women prepare the snacks or pica pica. They're busy getting ready for paella cooking competition which is judge then with 3 juries and the winner willl be announced one day before the main celebration.
By chance our visit coincided with the Day of the Pig, a local festival. I?m not too sure what it was all about, but it seemed to involve eating Barbequed pig, and drinking alcohol of course on the beach, accompanied by the firing of the occassional rocket. It was typical of the many small festivals that take place frequently in Spanish towns and villages.