Tres Tombs Parade is a celebration of Saint Anthony Abbot’s Day, which is celebrated across towns and cities in Spain every January 17th. Saint Anthony Abbott was a Catholic monk and patron saint of pets, basket weavers, farmers, gravediggers, and the sick.
This celebration is especially noted throughout Catalonia where parades known as Els Tres Tombs are held in several cities. These processions complete three rounds of the city, and date back to the 15th century when farmers would bring their animals into the city to be blessed. This festival takes place in Barcelona and locals are encouraged to bring their pets to be blessed. The Romans also walked around their temples for good luck.
Do not confuse the word “cemeteries” as it does not have the same meaning as in English, it is in fact translated from Catalan to “tours” or “walks”. So tres tombs is a literal translation into three rounds.
The Three Cemeteries in Barcelona
If you are in Barcelona in January, the Parade of the Three Graves is something you should experience to see the animal-drawn vehicles of days gone by.
El Cavalcada dels Tres Tombs de Sant Antoni takes place on the first Saturday after Saint Anthony’s Day, January 17. The parade starts at 11am at Avinguda del Paral-lel, passes through the center and ends at Mercat de Sant Antoni.
At this festival, you will see more than 50 horse-drawn carriages, such as carriages, farm vehicles, fire engines, brass-branded hearing aids, police horses, horses, and ponies of all shapes and sizes with jockeys in traditional costumes. The show usually takes about two and a half hours.
Blessing of animals and knights
During the procession, they pass the church of L’Escola Pia Saint Anthony, where the priest blesses the horses and knights. After blessing the animals at the parade, locals who bring their pets and anoint them with holy water are blessed.
You can bring your dogs, cats or birds to bless you. You can even bring your own pet hamster if you have a pet, the little animals are blessed in front of the church.
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Turtle de Sant Antoni
On January 17, it is always customary to buy or make tortillas in the form of a roscon or horseshoe. This is similar to roscón de Reyes and was originally filled with marzipan. Now, it is cut in half and filled with cream or truffles and garnished with candied fruits. You can also hide a bean (whoever finds it pays for the roscón) and an animal character in the winner’s roscón.
How to make your own tortilla de San Antonio
Recipe for 6 servings:
250g flour + a little extra
100 grams of sugar
75 ml warm milk
1 tablespoon of orange blossom water
10 grams bakery yeast
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons of sunflower oil
To prepare the dessert:
Step 1 – Put all the flour and yeast in a bowl and make a hole in the middle. Add sugar, oil, orange blossom water to the hole, an egg and an egg white (reserve the other yolk), a pinch of salt, orange zest and warm milk.
Step 2 – Mix all the ingredients well and continue kneading by hand or with a mixer. The dough should be elastic without getting stuck in the hands, add flour if necessary.
Step 3 – Once the dough is made, roll it into a ball and cover it with a clean cloth, and let it rest for a few hours.
Step 4 – As soon as it is cooked, knead the dough again, shape it into a horseshoe or roscon shape and insert the bean and figurine into it. Place on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper.
Step 5 – Brush with beaten egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of water, decorate with candied fruits and cubes of almonds and let rest for an hour.
Step 6 – After an hour, preheat the oven to 180 degrees and let the rocon bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
Step 7 – Once cooked, leave to cool. When it’s cool, cut it in half and fill it with the filling of your choice and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
The path of the march in 2022
Barcelona 2022 Parade is held by:
- Ronda de Sant Pau
- Ronda Saint Anthony
- University Square
- La Rambla
- Hospital Street
- Plaça del Pedro
- Mansu Street
- Saint Anthony’s Market
This year’s festival will start on the 23rd of 1st 2022, in Igualada, organized by the Antic Gremi de Traginers d’Igualada.
Sandra Roig is the Marketing Director of AB Apartment Barcelona. AB Apartment Barcelona is an apartment rental agency that offers more than a thousand short and long-term apartments throughout Barcelona.
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