Our Lady of Mercedes Day in Dominican Republic in 2020

Our Lady of Mercedes Day in Dominican Republic in 2020
  How long until Our Lady of Mercedes Day?
This holiday next takes place in 315 days.
  Dates of Our Lady of Mercedes Day in Dominican Republic
2021 Dominican Republic Fri, Sep 24 National Holiday
2020 Dominican Republic Thu, Sep 24 National Holiday
2019 Dominican Republic Tue, Sep 24 National Holiday
2018 Dominican Republic Mon, Sep 24 National Holiday
2017 Dominican Republic Sun, Sep 24 National Holiday
  Summary
This celebration dates back to 1615, when the Mercedians, a Spanish order, established the feast day in honour of the Virgin Mary
  Local name
la fiesta de Las Mercedes

When is Our Lady of Mercedes?

Our Lady of Mercedes is a national holiday in the Dominican Republic observed on September 24th each year.

The day honours the Virgin Mary on the feast day established by the Mercedian order in the 17th century.

Traditions of Our lady of Mercedes

As the Spanish colonised the Americas, they also brought Christianity, which was often imposed on the indigenous peoples whether they felt they needed a new religion or not. At the forefront of the Catholic faith was the veneration of the Virgin Mary which was transplanted into many place names and public holidays across the new world.

The Dominican Republic is a good example of this as this holiday is one of two public holidays dedicated to the Virgin Mary. 

To find how this day became a holiday in the second-largest Caribbean country, we need to travel back to 13th century Spain. In 1218, Mary appeared to Saint Peter Nolasco and King James of Aragon to implore them to create the Mercedarian (from the Spanish 'merced' - mercy) religious order. The order would attempt to free Christian captives from the Moors, even if it meant the members of the order had to take their place.

The order continued to flourish long after the Moors had left Spain and in 1615, a feast day for Our Lady of Mercedes was established on September 24th in Spain and France.

In Dominica, it is said that during a battle with natives in 1495, the Lady of Mercedes appeared, scattering the understandably startled locals and winning the day for the Spanish. Further visitations at the site led to a church being built, the Iglesia Las Mercedes, which still remains a popular place for worshippers to visit on this feast day.

The Virgen de las Mercedes was declared "Patroness of the Dominican Republic" in 1844, the year of Dominican Independence.

Did you know?

In case you were wondering, the Mercedes car name is indeed also named after the Spanish for 'mercy'. An early Austrian automobile enthusiast called Emil Jellinek started racing cars under the name 'Mercedes', after his daughter, Mercédès.

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