In Dominican Republic, Our Lady of Mercedes Day is a public holiday falling on every 24 September. Our Lady of Mercedes is the Patron Saint of Dominican Republic.
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The holiday is based on a legend of Columbus setting up a cross on top of a hill in what is now Dominican Republic before sailing away. A battle then took place there between Spanish forces and the natives in which, it is said, the Virgin Mary made an appearance that scared the native people off the battle field.
This Lady of Mercies, or “Mercedes”, is also said to have made additional appearances at that cross topped hill. Eventually, a church was erected on the spot and the Roman Catholic feast day of Lady of Mercedes Day on 24 September, was made a public holiday to honour what became the patroness saint of the whole island.
On this religious holiday, there are special church services held throughout Dominican Republic, as well as many parades. In the capital city of Santo Domingo, a large procession is held. And many also go on pilgrimage to Santo Serro, to the very spot where Our Lady of Mercies is thought to have appeared and aided the spread of Roman Catholicism to the New World.