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Pets were blessed by the parish priest at the event. SUR
Single women and animal lovers head to San Antón festivities in Mijas
Traditions

Single women and animal lovers head to San Antón festivities in Mijas

According to local tradition, women wanting to find a partner would throw stones at the saint's crotch at the event in the hope their wish would come true

Lorena Cádiz

Mijas

Friday, 19 January 2024, 13:00

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Mijas celebrated its San Antón festival on Wednesday, one of the oldest and most deeply rooted festivities in the town and a unique event that dates back to the 15th century.

The festival, which included the tasting of typical local dishes made with offal, is associated with religious rites that include the blessing of animals, mainly those used for agricultural work, such as horses, donkeys and oxen, although today many people take domestic animals along too.

The event began at noon at the shrine of San Antón in Osunillas, where the parish priest of Mijas Pueblo, Francisco Villasclaras, officiated at a mass in honour of the saint, the patron of animals. Afterwards the priest blessed a variety of animals at the doors of the hermitage, a long-awaited moment for attendees who took their pets along.

The festivities also included the 'baile de la rueda' (dance of the wheel), and the strange ritual of throwing stones at the saint. According to tradition, unmarried women would come to ask San Antón for help in finding a fiancé. This involved throwing three small stones at the image, and, if they hit the saint's crotch, their wish would come true.

Mijas mayor Ana Mata also attended the shrine along with members of the local government team, to experience the festivities first hand. "It is a very special day for all Mijeños and Mijeñas, as the festival of San Antón is one of the most deeply-rooted traditions celebrated in the town and, as such, it is important to support it to ensure it continues," she said.

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