Who doesn’t love a holiday? The festive holiday, birthday, or ceremony is always exciting. But, have you ever heard about holidays that celebrate animals? Yes! There is some special day, dedicated to animals, from domestic ones like cats or dogs to the wild ones like elephants and cows, and to the mythical one like dragon! Here are several holidays around the world that celebrate or furry friends! Don’t forget to take notes because maybe you are interested to visit the place one day!
5 interesting holidays in the worlds that celebrate animals
1. Elephant Festival in Holi
Who doesn’t know Holi, the festival of colors in India and Nepal? Holi is getting more attention from the world because of its colorfulness and festiveness. Holi marks the arrival of spring and one of the festival days is dedicated to animals, which is the elephant. As we know, elephants are sacred animals in Hindu, the majority religion in India and Nepal. Elephant is the shape of one of nine jewels or also known as navratas in the India mythology. The day is called Elephant Day and usually happening in March.
The elephants are decorated with vibrant paints and cloth, jewelry like anklets that tinkled as they walk, a jhool or saddle cloth, and last but not least, the elephants are sprinkled with colored powder or gulaal which is one of the essentials part of Holi festival. Besides awarding the elephants from their beauty decoration, the strongest elephant will also be awarded in the Elephant polo match and Elephant race which are included in the festival.
2. Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year is also one of the most popular holidays. It is known that Chinese New Year is strongly correlated with animals, as the year in Chinese tradition is represented with different 12 animals, such as Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig and marked the characters and personalities of the people who are born in the specific year (for your information, 2020 will be the year of Rat!). The celebration itself lasts for 15 days long!
One of the remarkable festivals in it is surely the New Year’s Parade. The New Year’s Parade is known for its tradition dancing dragons. Dragon in Chinese tradition represented the harmony of the seasons, rain, and healthy crops. During the parade, firecrackers (which are also the common symbol in the festival) are thrown to wake the dragon from hibernation. This ‘dragon’ is a team of costumed dancers that weave along the parade and usually followed by lion dancers. The lion dancers are performed by two dancers that demonstrate marital arts.
3. Gai Jatra, The Festival of Cows
Gai Jatra, which means the festival of cows, is celebrated in Nepal by the Newar community. It is popular in various places in Nepal such as Kathmandu, Patan, until Bhaktapur. The date of the festival is based on the Nepalese month of Bhadra, which is around August to September. It is called the festival of cows because on this day, people who have had loved ones that pass away lead a cow through the parade. Cow is one of the sacred animals in Hindu besides Elephant and is believed to be able to aid the journey in the afterlife. Nepalese believe that cows, especially the cow’s tail would make the afterlife journey easier for their lost loved family members.
The festival will start by giving a bath to the cows, especially to their tails, and they are decorated with garlands and red Tika and the people dressed in traditional clothing. Then, these pretty cows will march to the streets with the owners. They walk through the temples, god statues, and any other sacred places in the whole valley. Along with the cow parade, treats, foods, and gifts are offered to the cow owners as a symbol of wishing future luck.
4. Cat Day in Japan
International Cat Day or World Cat Day is marked on August 8 and was created in 2002. Dedicated day for cats is celebrated in many countries, including the U.S, India, European, and Australia. However, only a few of them are as festive as Japan’s Cat Day.
Japan Cat Day or Neko no Hi is held on February 22 (22/2). It is a special date because the date is resembling the ‘ni ni ni’ (ni is the Japanese word for 2) which closely sounds as ‘nyan nyan nyan’ (nyan is the meow sound in Japanese word). This is also what makes Cat Day in Japan is also known as Nyan Nyan Nyan Day.
On this day, you can easily spot cat-theme everywhere, from decoration, cake, biscuits, and more. Pet stores will also hold special events related to cats, the cat owners would post funny photos or videos of their cats while being pranked by them and post them on social media, and a lot of people would dress up as animated cat characters by wearing cat’s ears or nekomimi.
5. The Day of Saint Francis and Saint Roch, The Parton Saint of Animals
As you can see, some of the holidays that included animals in it are a part of religious act or strongly affected by religious beliefs, including the feast of Saint Francis and the day of Saint Roch. Both are popular in Catholic churches. The feast of Saint Francis (patron saint of animals) is celebrated on October 4 in many countries, where the churches perform the animal blessing, while the day of Saint Roch (patron saint of dogs) is celebrated on August 16 in Bolivia and recognized as the day of dogs.
Those are only a few holidays that celebrated animals around the world. It is nice to know that there is a special day dedicated to animals, too. However, the act of showing our love and celebrating our furry friends does not only happen for a day. We should take care of them and be thankful for them every day too!