Since the Easter Sunday 1930 reopening of the restored Olvera Street, people have brought their pets to the plaza on the Saturday before the holiday to participate in the Blessing of the Animals. The roots of the Catholic ceremony are a bit older, dating back to the 4th century, when St. Anthony Abbot, the patron saint of animals, began the tradition after healing a pig. Once intended mainly for livestock and farm animals, now pets of all sizes and species are brought to the event, from dogs, cats, rabbits and ducks to snakes, pigs and llamas. Festivities take place all afternoon, but the blessing by Archbishop José Gomez begins at 2 p.m., with the line forming at 1 p.m.
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