In the Mesopotamian religion, there was a group who worshiped a dog deity and a temple referred to as “the dog house.” In the ancient Egyptian religion, Anubis, the god of the afterlife, had the head of a jackal. Zoroastrianism included the proper treatment of dogs in their holy books and required that dogs had funerals similar to those of humans. Is it surprising, then that quite a few modern religions have special days for our four legged friends? Here are some of the most popular holy days for dog lovers around the world.
Day:The Feast of Saint Roch
Date: August 16th
Explanation: Saint Roch is the patron saint of dogs, so it makes sense that dogs are celebrated on his feast day. Called the birthday of all dogs, many dogs can be seen on this day with colorful ribbons, and all dogs are especially well treated. It’s the perfect holiday for the dog days of summer.
Day: The Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi
Date: October 4th
Explanation: Saint Francis of Assisi was known for his love of animals and his kindness to all living creatures, so on his feast day, may parishes organize animal blessings.
Day: Chinese New Year
Religion: Ancient Chinese Tradition (pre- Daoist and Buddhist)
Date: February 19th in 2015 (Varies by year)
Explanation: In the traditional 15 day celebration of Chinese New Year, the second day is considered the birthday of the dog. This day is believed to be connected to Tsai Shen, the goddess of wealth, so it is traditional to eat wontons. Many people will pray to their ancestors on this day and married women traditionally visit their birth parents. Pet dogs as well as strays are supposed to be fed especially well on this day.
Day: Kukur Tihar
Date: October 22nd in 2015 (Varies by year)
Explanation: Tihar is a five day festival celebrating various animals, the second day of which is the Day of Dogs. On this day, dogs are treated as the kings (and queens) of their homes. People even pray to their dogs for their homes to be protected. Dogs are given a special meal, adorned with flower garlands, and a red tika is drawn on their foreheads. Even stray dogs are treated as holy on this day.