We celebrate International Dog Day, but paying tribute to three dog-centered festivals around the world.
International Dog Day has taken place every August 26th since 2004. Its founder Collen Page was a pet expert and animal rescue advocate. She intended the day to not be means to pamper and spoil our dogs with treats, cuddles, and extensive walks (though of course, your pooch is never going to say no to that!), but to raise awareness. The aim was centered on promoting animal rescue services and dog shelters, and therein encourage care for abused and abandoned dogs.
In the spirit of International Dog Day, its values, in celebrating the importance of dogs, how about reading up on some of these auspicious dog-related festivals that occur around the world?
Barkus Parade is part of part of the Mardi Gras parade (‘Fat Tuesday’ carnival celebrations, which either begin on or after the Christian feasts of Epiphany). It is especially dedicated to our love of dogs! This seems incredibly appropriate given how ‘Barkus’ is reminiscent of a dog’s penchant for ‘barking’ – this location setting the scene for the Mystic Krewe of Mystic Parade since 1993.
Deepavali – similar in significance to Diwali – is not only a festival of lights in Nepal, but also of dogs! Dogs are gifted flower garlands and red tikkas atop their foreheads for blessings and good fortune. Specifically, it is believed to be a practice that will keep death at bay. This is because dogs have been believed to be representatives of Yamaraj – the God of Death – to this day.
St. Roch’s Day
Just as International Dog Day celebrates dogs around the world, this Catholic festival celebrates dogs everywhere on August 16th. These celebrations are for St. Roch, the Patron Saint of Dogs, as the story has it that St. Roch was fed back to health by a wild hunting dog. St Roch had been suffering from the plague, and expected the dog to have him for his own supper. Instead, the dog became St. Roch’s trusted companion, and thus proves a touching tale of how faith and kindness can prevail.
Watch dogs being blessed in Bolivia on San Roque’s / Saint Roch day.
What International Dog Day means now
If you have been considering choosing to adopt a dog, International Dog Day is the perfect chance to give your research a start! There are plenty of pet shelters and charities to choose from. Petsradar details how the Shelter pet Project helps you identify pet shelters by both how local they are, or even by breed. What’s more, charities like Cookie’s Rescue are always happy to assist you in how best to rehome a pup in need.
With the insular effects of lockdown, adding a pup to the family has been a blessing for many of our sanities. Bringing a beautiful dog into our lives can be a positive, yet the onslaught of puppy love comes at a price. The activity of puppy mills, breeding, acquiring dogs via online and newspaper ads, as well as concerns as to what to do with our dogs, once we return to work, have swelled. Awareness of these issues is arguably at its peak in the wake of a global pandemic. International Dog Day is a brilliant opportunity to change the lives of dogs affected for the better.
However, if you are not in a position to adopt a dog, another great option is to use this day to volunteer at shelters instead. Activities might range from caretaking and feeding to dog-walking – all of which is sure to make a massive difference to the dogs in your care!
Looking for something great to treat your dog with? Try our themed monthly deliveries!