Dia de las Mercedes (Our Lady of Mercy Day) Featured in
In the Dominican Republic, Our Lady of Mercy Day (Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes) is celebrated each year on September 24 and is considered to be a national and religious feast.
Legend has it that before leaving the island of Hispanola, Christopher Columbus raised a cross atop a hill in the Cibao district. That's where a battle between the indigenous population and the Spanish conquerors occurred. During this battle, in 1495, the Virgin of Mercy showed up and frighted the Indians, helping the Spanish to win.
Apparently, Our Lady of Mercy appeared on the site many times. In the end, the settlers decided to build a church dedicated to the Virgin of Mercy to mark the spot.
The day of Our Lady of Mercy was declared a public holiday in the Dominican Republic because the saint is respected as patroness of the entire island of Hispanola. The feast is marked with colorful processions and special masses in churches.
The major celebrations take place in the capital of the Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo, as well as in Santo Serro, where a church has been erected in honor of the saint. Annually, this location is visited by thousands of pilgrims.