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World Animal Day

Octobre 4th. World Animals Day is on the same day as Saint Francis of Assisi’s name day. He is the patron Saint of animal lovers and of the people that are protecting all living nature.

Saint Francis was born in 1182 at Assisi, Italy. First he was called Giovanni Battista Bernadone. It’s not until later he will be called Francis. His father is a rich merchant in cloths and his mother belongs to the nobility.

Francis grows up in wealth and spends his days partying. One day he falls seriously ill and later on he will even spend time in prison. After this event, he decides to start living as the apostles of Jesus Christ. They did not own a thing and lived of off what people would give them. He also helps beggars and lepers and he stands up for the animals.



He considers all people his brothers and sisters because all living creatures are created by God and are taken care of by God. A sparrow is as much his brother as the pope is, is what Francis once said. He travels trough Italy, Spain, Morocco and the Middle East to convert people there to Christianity. He doesn’t only preach to the people but also to the birds, the hares and other animals living in nature, or so it is told. They all come to listen to him. He gets more and more disciples and founds the Order of the Franciscans and the Order of the Clarissans.

In 1226 he falls ill and returns to Assisi where he dies on October the 4th.

Two years later he is canonized by pope Gregorius IX and the day of his death becomes his name day. And since Francis was born at and died in Assisi, everyone now calls him Saint Francis of Assisi.

In the 19th century, more and more people start to stand up for animals that were badly treated or neglected. In England, Austria, The Netherlands and other countries animal welfare organisations are founded. In 1929 these organisations are having a conference in Vienna, Austria. They discuss preventing animal abuse and how to improve the lives of animals. It’s decided to declare the name day of Saint Francis as World Animals Day. This is celebrated each year. In The Netherlands it was first celebrated in 1930. On this day, dogs, cats and all other pets/animals are extra spoiled. And all kinds of organisations for animal welfare and the protection of animals are talking about how you can treat animals in the best possible manner. Also in the schools there is attention for the animals. Children used to bring their pets to school but these days this habit no longer exists.