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Feast of St Francis of Assisi in United Kingdom

Many churches in the United Kingdom observe the Feast of St Francis of Assisi on October 4 each year. The feast commemorates the life of St Francis, who was born in the 12th century and is the Catholic Church’s patron saint of animals and the environment. It is a popular day for pets to be “blessed”.

Stained glass portrait of St. Francis.
Stained glass portrait of St. Francis.
St Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of animals and the environment.
©iStockphoto.com/Mark Strozier

What Do People Do?

The Feast of St Francis of Assisi is a day when special church services are held to bless pets in the United Kingdom. Pets of all kids, including dogs, cats, hamsters, rabbits, and even a 100-year-old tortoise, have been blessed in churches in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland in the past.

Some churches hold special celebrations or events to coincide with the Feast of St Francis of Assisi. Some radio stations that broadcast classical music may feature songs associated with the Feast of St Francis of Assisi on this day.

Public Life

The Feast of St Francis of Assisi is not a bank holiday in the United Kingdom.

Background

St Francis, who founded the Catholic Church’s Franciscan order, lived in Italy during the late 12th and 13th centuries. He is remembered for his generosity to the poor and his willingness to minister to the lepers. He is remembered for his love for animals and nature.  St Francis died at Portiuncula, Italy on October 4, 1226.

Pope Gregory IX pronounced St Francis a saint in 1228. The pope also laid the foundation stone for the Basilica of St Francis in Assisi, Italy. The church, also known as Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi, is a UNESCO world heritage site.

Symbols

Symbols associated with St Francis of Assisi are:

  • Birds and animals.
  • A bag of gold and rich raiment at St Francis’ (of Assisi) feet.
  • A winged crucifix with five rays.
  • Stigmata.
  • A crown of thorns.
  • A lighted lamp.
  • A fiery chariot.
  • Animals such as birds, deer, and a wolf.
  • Fire.
  • A skull.

Some of these symbols are seen around the time of the Feast of St Francis of Assisi. Some churches in the United Kingdom are also named after St Francis.

About Feast of St Francis of Assisi in other countries

Read more about Feast of St Francis of Assisi.

Feast of St Francis of Assisi Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday TypeWhere It is Observed
MonOct 42010Feast of St Francis of AssisiChristian 
TueOct 42011Feast of St Francis of AssisiChristian 
ThuOct 42012Feast of St Francis of AssisiChristian 
FriOct 42013Feast of St Francis of AssisiChristian 
SatOct 42014Feast of St Francis of AssisiChristian 
SunOct 42015Feast of St Francis of AssisiChristian 
TueOct 42016Feast of St Francis of AssisiChristian 
WedOct 42017Feast of St Francis of AssisiChristian 
ThuOct 42018Feast of St Francis of AssisiChristian 
FriOct 42019Feast of St Francis of AssisiChristian 
SunOct 42020Feast of St Francis of AssisiChristian 

Quick Facts

Many churches in the United Kingdom celebrate the Feast of St Francis of Assisi to honor St Francis, the patron saint of animals and the environment, on October 4 each year.

Feast of St Francis of Assisi 2016

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Feast of St Francis of Assisi 2017

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

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Name

Feast of St Francis of Assisi

List of dates for other years

Other holidays in October 2016 in United Kingdom

Fun Holiday on October 4, 2016

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