Tag Archives: patron saint

Patron Saint Celebrations

Fiestas Patronales de la República Dominicana / Celebrations of the Patron Saints of Dominican Republic

Patronales/ Patron Saints. Every town and village in Dominican Republic has it’s own patron saint. Each town has a celebration for their saint. These celebrations usually cover an entire weekend or more with a party, music and just getting together of the inhabitants of the town in the local park or gathering area. It is a time of sharing with the neighbors and another excuse for having a party. Not that Dominicans need an excuse to have a party or a good time.

Here is a list of Patron Saints and different celebrations and what town celebrates that saint. The dates are a general reference and can change year to year depending on the dates the government sets. Try to visit a town during their celebrations. You will be so happy you did, even if you are not Catholic.

Festival San Miguel in Santo Domingo

Enero / Janurary

Festival El Santo Cristo de Bayaguana Offering of the Bulls

1. Santo Cristo de los Milagros of Bayaguana – ofrenda de los toros/ The Offering of the bulls (More information about this tradition go to our page on Town Traditions)

21. Nuestra Señora de La Altagracia o Virgen de la Altagracia. Celebrated in San José de Ocoa, Monte Plata, Villa Altagracia, Paraiso y los bajos de Haina. More information on Altagracia

Febrero / February

2 Virgen de la Candelaria patron saint of San Carlos, in Santo Domingo and Sabana Grande de Boyá.

11 Nuestra Señora de Lourdes patron saint of Peralta in Azua

16 San Elías Barón del Cementerio/ The Barron of the Cemetery.

Marzo / March

3 y 4 San Benito de Palermo celebrated in Guayabal, a providence of Azua

4 y 5 Procesión Romana-Higüey a procession to the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia in Higüey,starting at the Obelisco in La Romana

8 Miércoles de Ceniza/ Ash Wednesday

17 Damballah is symbolized by un arco iris/ Rainbow

19 San José this saint is celebrated in the towns of Restauración in Dajabón, Río Grande in Puerto Plata, Villa Vásquez in Prov. Montecristi, San José de las Matas in Prov. Dajabón, Yamasá in Prov. Monte Plata, El Valle in Sabana de la Mar. In Azua this patron saint is celebrated with carnival like festivities.

Abril / April

8 Amancia Pérez patron saint of Pueblo Arriba, Baní. This is the death of this saint who was the keeper of the San Juan Bautista en la Cofradía/ Saint John the Baptist in the Brotherhood

14 y 15 La Dolorita patron saint of Los Morenos, Villa Mella. She is a saint who bestows miracles and helps the people. It is celebrated by hundresd with salves, atabales, rezos y cantos/dance, prayers and song.(to learn more about salves, atables and afro dominican music)

Mayo / May

1 San José Obrero celebrated in Villa Jaragua in Prov. Bahoruco and Ensanche Ozama in Santo Domingo

3 San Felipe Apostol patron saint of Puerto Plata.

13 Nuestra Señora de Fátima celebrated in Villa Sinda in Prov. Montecristi, Galván in Prov. Bahoruco, Arenoso in Prov. Duarte and Hondo Valle in Prov. Samaná.

15 San Isidro el Labrador celebrated in Castillo in Prov. Duarte, Luperón in Puerto Plata, Las Caobas in Santiago Rodríguez, CLavelLina y Uvilla in Prov. Bahoruco, EL Llano in Elías Piña, Santé y La Enea in Prov. La Altagracia.

21 Espíritu Santo celebrated in Cotuí and many of the rural communities throughout Dominican Republic. (Here is a little information on this music)

18(?) Santa Rita de Casia celebrated in Juan Barón a Prov.of San Cristóbal, Sabana Perdida in Santo Domingo

30 San Fernando Rey patron saint of Montecristi.

Junio / June

11 San Bernabé patron saint of Villa Mella.

13 San Antonio de Padua patron saint of Bonao in Prov. Monseñor Nouel, Guerra in Prov. Monte Plata, La Victoria in Santo Domingo, Villa Rivas in Prov. Duarte, Monción in Prov. Santiago Rodríguez, Miches in Prov. El Seibo

22 Corazón de María patron saint of Chaquey Abajo in Cotuí

29 San Pedro y San Pablo patron saint of San Pedro de Macorís; Las Salinas in Prov. Barahona, El Cercado in Prov. San Juan de la Maguana, Fundación de Peravia in Prov.Peravia.

30 San Pablo Apóstol patron saint celebration in Villa González

Septiembre / September

7 Nuestra Señora de los Remedios patron saint of Azua, Cabral in Barahona, El Limón in Jimaní, Naranjo in San Juan de la Maguana

14 Exaltación de la Santísima Cruz patron saint of Mao in Valverde

24 Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes/Las Mercedes is patroness of the firefighters and the Patron Saint of the Dominican People. More information, picture and video of Mercedes and the celebration.

29 San Miguel Arcángel / St. Michael, the Archangel is the patron saint of the Dominican armed forces. He is the Captain of the Celestial Legions. Combating the devil he leads the forces of heaven in their triumph over the powers of hell. Celebrated in the Santo Domingo town of San Miguel at the Iglesia San Miguel. History of the important Festival San Miguel.

Octubre / October

1 San Francisco patron saint of Bánica

4 Nuestra Señora del Rosario patron saint of Barahona

12 Nuestra Señora del Pilar patron saint of Sabana de la Mar and Cevicos.

14 Santa Rosa de Jesús patron saint of Elías Piña.

15 Santa Teresa de Avila patron saint of Comendador in Elías Piña

24 San Rafael patron saint of Boca Chica, Capotillo, Palma Herrada y los 21 in Moca, San Rafael del Yuma, Tamboril, Estancia Vieja in Santiago Rodríguez, Villa Tapia y Quita Sueño in Cotuí, Guayacanes in Valeverde

29 San Judas Tadeo patron saint of Escondido in Baní

Noviembre / November

1 Todos los Santos patron saint of Maguana in San Juan de la Maguana

21 Nuestra Señora de Regla patron saint of Baní

Diciembre / December

5 Santa Bárbara patron saint of Samaná

8 Inmaculada Concepción patron saint of Cotuí, Monte Grande in Dajabón, Estancia Nueva in Moca, Sombrero in Baní, Oviedo in Pedernales, Ramón Santana in San Pedro de Macorís

13 Santa Lucía patron saint of Las Matas de Farfán and El Peñón in Barahona

18 Virgen del Amparo patron saint of Polo in Barahona and Esperanza in Valverde

27 San Juan Evangelista patron saint of Salcedo

To see a map with all the Dominican Republic Provinces (Prov.) listed.

Las Mercedes

Our Lady of Mercy/ Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes. Patrona de la República Dominicana

According to the legend on March 1495, Christopher Columbus, accompanied by a few Spanish men had to face the Chief and a large number of Indians in a battle for gold. They built a trench from which to do battle and planted a large wooden cross next to this trench. It is said that the Virgin appeared on the cross.

The Indians made the Spanish run from their trench, retreating to a hill. The Indians tried to destroy the cross and even tried to burn it but they could not destroy it. Because of the aggressiveness of the Indians Columbus and most of the troops decided to leave. Fray Juan Infante, who carried a statue of Our Lady of Mercy, urged the Spanish to continue fighting and promised them victory on behalf of the Virgin.

The next day the forces of Columbus had victory over the native peoples of the island, taking what belonged to these original peoples of the island.

Columbus told his son Diego that he wanted to build a church in this spot in the Virgins honor. In 1527 atop the hill was established in the first convent of the Order of Mercy. After this incident, there was a shrine built to honor Our Lady of Mercy at the very top of the hill where Columbus planted the miraculous cross.

Iglesia Santo Cerro, La Vega
Iglesia Santo Cerro, La Vega

Holy Hill/ Santo Cerro

The church that sits on this spot now was built in 1880. This shrine of Holy Hill/ Santo Cerro is atop a hill that is about 8 miles from the town of La Vega. Every year on September 24 thousands of the faithful makes a procession there to honor this patron saint. There is a museum here and from the veranda, atop the holy hill El Santo Cerro, there is a spectacular view of Valle De La Vega Real in the Cordillera Septentrional.

The Virgen de la Mercedes is well known and loved in many countries including Peru, Argentina and many other countries.

Our Lady de Altagracia/ Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia watching over Ciudad Colonial
Our Lady de Altagracia/ Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia watching over Ciudad Colonial

Mercedarios

Since 1259 padres Mercedarios begin to spread devotion to Our Lady of Mercy (or Mercedes) that extends around the world. San Pedro Nolasco, inspired by the Blessed Virgin/ Santísima Virgen, founded an order dedicated to the mercy/ la merced (which means works of mercy/ obras de misericordia). San Pedro Nolasco and his friars were very devoted to the Virgin Mary. They took her as their patron saint and guide. Los mercedarios were knights of the Virgin Mary/ caballeros de la Virgen María in the service of his redeeming work and honor as Mother of Mercy or Virgin Redeemer/ Madre de la Merced o Virgen Redentora.

Iglesia y Convento de las Mercedes

The Iglesia Las Mercedes in the Zona Colonial
The Iglesia Las Mercedes in the Zona Colonial

The Iglesia y Convento de las Mercedes/ The Church and Convent of Our Lady of Mercy located on Calle Mercedes in Colonial Zone has services for the Virgin every year on September 24 is Día de Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes when there is a procession in her honor.

A video if the procession going up Calles 19 de Marzo crossing Arzobispo Nouel in Zona Colonial, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on September 24, 2008

See the dates of all the Patron Saint celebrations throughout Dominican Republic

Virgen de la Altagracia

Virgen de la Altagracia/ Virgin of the Highest Grace. Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia, Patrona de La República Dominicana.

The country’s official patron saint and Queen Protector of the heart of Dominicans.

The altar inside the Iglesia Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia in Colonial Zone
The altar inside the Iglesia Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia in Colonial Zone.

The Story

The story of Our Lady de Altagracia dates back to when Spain first colonized the island of Hispaniola. Two men, Alonso y Antonio de Trejo, brought a painting of the Virgin to Hispaniola from their home in Placencia, in the region of Extremadura in 1502.

The legend states that the image of the Virgin mysteriously disappeared from the house of the brothers Trejo. The painting later reappeared in an orange bush. The location of this bush is where the first church of Higuey was built.

Now thousands of devoted visitors make the trek here to deposit offerings and to ask favors of the Mother of Christ. Dominicans pray to her for miracles and cures and for intercession for whatever troubles them. Las Noches de Vela/ the Nights of Prayer is celebrated the night before Altagracia Day.

The painting of the Virgen de la Altagracia
The painting of the Virgen de la Altagracia

The painting (shown here) of the patron saint of Dominican Republic that is found in the Basílica Catedral Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia located in Salvaleón de Higüey. It is said to have been painted in the late 15th century in Spain. It was mysteriously delivered by a shrouded old man who dropped the painting and disappeared. This painting shows the scene of the birth of Jesus. The frame is made from Dominican gold and inlaid with fine enamels, precious stones and jewels. The painting has been completely restored.

Basílica Catedral Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia located in Salvaleón de Higüey
The Basílica Catedral Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia located in Salvaleón de Higüey

See the picture slideshow of The Basílica Catedral Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia) located in Salvaleón de Higüey.

The Miracle

Another miracle story is about how Dominican soldiers appealed to the Virgin to help them win victory over the French in the 1691 battle in La Limonade, near Cap-Haitien in northern Haiti. They won the battle.

Virgen de la Altagracia was crowned the spiritual mother of Higuey by pontificate of Pius XI in August 15, 1922. The ceremony was held in Santo Domingo at the Puerta del Conde. It was declared that Día de la Altagracia celebrated on January 21st would be a National holiday by the President of the Dominican Republic, Doctor Joaquin Antonio Balaguer Ricardo. Many important people of the Catholic Church attended this ceremony.

Virgen de Altagracia art work
Virgen de Altagracia art work

This celebration is now a blend of African religions and Catholicism. Dominicans recite prayers, play African influenced music, sing hymns and dance.

English: “The hour is, then, causes so that we swear on the foot of this Basilica, in the presence of the Delegate of his Sanctity, His Eminence the Cardinal Jose Humberto Quintero, who from today and onward we will work together by the good of the Mother country and the union and the concord of the national family”

Spanish: “La hora es, pues, propicia para que juremos al pie de esta Basílica, en presencia del Delegado de Su Santidad, Su Eminencia el cardenal José Humberto Quintero, que desde hoy en adelante trabajaremos juntos por el bien de la Patria y por la unión y la concordia de la familia nacional” proclaimed Balaguer, when giving the Basilica to the Ecclesiastical authorities.

See our picture collection of the Iglesia Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia located in Ciudad Colonial.

The procession through the streets of Colonial Zoe to honor the Patron Saint Altagracia.
The procession through the streets of Colonial Zoe to honor the Patron Saint Altagracia.

Did You Know?

*1 in every 12 Dominicans are named Altagracia in honor of the patron saint.

*Every year more than 800,000 people make the pilgrimage to the Basílica of Altagracia in Higuey.

*Pope John Paul II visited the Basilica in Higuey when he came to the island January 25, 1979.

See the dates of all the Patron Saint celebrations throughout Dominican Republic