​As every year, Madrid celebrates the feasts of St. Anthony on January 17th. In 2020, the Spanish capital will once again become the city dedicated to animal protection. For this edition, the city will seek to raise awareness of adoption and the responsibilities of owning a pet. 

Thanks to Renfe-SNCF in Cooperation, you will have the chance to participate in this unique traditional celebration with your best companions, as they are welcome on board our trains! 

To live unforgettable moments with them and see Madrid as you have never seen it before, don't wait any longer and book your Renfe-SNCF in Cooperation train tickets now!

A bit of history…

​Since the 17th century, every January 17th, tradition has allowed all Madrileans and visitors from elsewhere to pay tribute to Saint Anthony by asking for the blessing of their animals. St. Anthony’s Feasts – Vueltas de San Antón - are considered to be one of the first popular festivals in the capital, after of course the arrival of the biblical Magi.

This event has evolved over time; initially, it was mainly addressed to the rural world, taking up medieval traditions such as "the festivals of the madmen" in which the pig was the protagonist. However, it was banned for several years, as royalty and the Church could not accept a "celebration of the king of pigs". It was again authorized after the War of Succession and was then organized as a votive feast with horses and mules who received the blessing of the representatives of Saint Anthony; during the parades rolls of bread were distributed. It disappeared again during the 1930s, the Civil War and the post-war period, and was finally reborn in an even different form. From the end of the 20th century onwards, it was considered a celebration that allowed animals to be blessed, thus addressing both the rural and urban worlds. Indeed, nowadays, thousands of people accompanied by their pets gather to allow them to receive the blessing.

Madrid hosts a wide variety of local festivals and celebrations to enjoy a wide cultural variety


For several years now, every January 17th, a parade has been held in Hortaleza, San Mateo Fuencarral and Hernán Cortés streets. Many groups participate in the procession: the Municipal Police, the Dog Master Units, the National Police, the Civil Guard, the guide dogs of the ONCE association, but also many associations dedicated to the defense of animals and many people accompanied by their pets; why don’t you join them?

After the celebration, you can always go and relax in one of its bars to savor the local cuisine.

This year...

​The celebrations will begin on January 16th with the traditional sale of bread rolls in the church of Saint Anthony as well as the parade of pets and the solidarity market in the Plaza de Chueca.

On Friday 17th, the blessing of the animals will take place from 10 am to 8 pm, then there’s the High Mass at noon, the speech and the traditional Vueltas de San Antón at 5 pm. The celebrations will end with the solemn Mass at 7pm.

In addition, all vegetarian and vegan gourmets will be delighted, as many restaurants will offer meat-free and animal-free dishes and tapas throughout the capital. (For more information: IG @sanantonanimalista)

To return home with your best companions, the best option is to settle comfortably on board our Renfe-SNCF in Cooperation trains. All passengers are welcomed to enjoy all the comfort of our trains!


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