The festival of San Sebastian in the Costa Adeje resort of Tenerife is a tradition that dates all the way back to the 19th century, and whilst people in the country of Spain have been taking their animals to church during the festival of the patron saint of animals and pets, those who live in Tenerife have a much more dramatic way of praising the Christian saint.

Every year on the 20th of January, St Sebastian’s day, goats, sheep and horses from the Costa Adeje area are paraded into the Ermita of San Sebastian on the Costa Adeje coast. A traditional mass is spoken and the animals are blessed, just like in a lot of Spanish countries, however this is where the typical antics end and it all becomes a bit strange! Once the mass is over the owners of the animals will lead their animals out into the sea from the beach and take them for  a swim and a play in the water!

All the animals are dressed up for the ceremony in bells and ribbons, and this is truly a day to show their pets and farm animals a bit of extra affection and love. The event is really popular with the locals and in recent years it has become a spectacle that people from all over the world come to see when they’re holidaying in Tenerife. This year over 30,000 pilgrims and tourists flocked to the site to watch the blessing and the bathing of the animals, and if you want to be a part of it next year, make sure you book your tickets to one of the great Costa Adeje hotels near the Playa Ermita well in advance so you don’t miss out!

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