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Blessing of the Bicycles

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The Blessing of the Bicycles is an annual tradition which began at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York City, in which riders of bicycles are blessed by a priest in the hope that it will bring safety for the coming season. Since its beginning in 1999 the ceremony has been ostensibly non-denominational, focusing more on rider safety than religion. However, the service does include prayers and reading of biblical passages, and bicycles are sprinkled with holy water.[1] A brief memorial service is held to acknowledge riders who have died in the previous year.[2][3] The Blessing of the Bicycles is one of only three annual occasions—the others being Easter and the Feast of Saint Francis—on which the cathedral opens its 3-ton bronze portal to allow for larger crowds.[4]

The popularity of the service has encouraged other localities to follow suit. Annual blessings are held from Burlington, Massachusetts[5] to Los Angeles[6] to Melbourne[7] and incorporate varying degrees of emphasis on religion, environmentalism, fitness, cyclists' rights, and safety.

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