Best time to go to Dominican Republic

Dia de las Mercedes (Our Lady of Mercy Day) 2024

Take part in numerous colorful processions honoring the saint

Dates: September 24

In the Dominican Republic, September 24th marks the annual celebration of Our Lady of Mercy Day (Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes), a significant national and religious feast that recognizes the Patron Saint of the Dominican Republic

The Feast

The feast honoring the saint is a vibrant affair that features colorful processions and special masses held in churches across the Dominican Republic. The focal point of the festivities lies in the capital, Santo Domingo, and Santo Cerro, where a dedicated church stands in honor of the saint. It's a time-honored tradition for devout Dominicans to embark on a pilgrimage to the sanctuary of the Virgin, journeying through the province of La Vega until they reach Santo Cerro. Here, they express their faith and seek blessings for themselves and their families, often making vows and promises to the Virgin in hopes of receiving divine favor. Following the procession, devotees participate in Eucharistic ceremonies, a deeply spiritual experience shared by thousands of pilgrims each year.

History of Día de las Mercedes

Legend has it that before departing from the island of Hispaniola, Christopher Columbus erected a cross atop a hill in the Cibao district, where a pivotal battle between the indigenous population and Spanish conquistadors transpired in 1495. During this confrontation, the Virgin of Mercy purportedly appeared, striking fear into the hearts of the indigenous people and aiding the Spanish in their victory. It is said that Our Lady of Mercy manifested at the site on multiple occasions. Ultimately, in recognition of these events, settlers decided to construct a church dedicated to the Virgin of Mercy on the spot. Given her significance as the patroness of the entire island of Hispaniola, the day of Our Lady of Mercy was subsequently designated a public holiday in the Dominican Republic.

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