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Our Lady of Altagracia 2024: History and Facts about Lady of Altagracia and Dominican Republic

Dominicans celebrate Our Lady of Altagracia on January 21, honoring the Virgin Mary and her 16th-century image in Salvaleón de Higüey city, alongside Our Lady of Mercedes Day on September 24.

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Our Lady of Altagracia 2024: Everywhere in the world, Dominicans celebrate January 21 as the Day of the Lady of Altagracia, or Our Lady of Altagracia festival. This day is devoted to celebrating the Virgin Mary, in particular, an image of her from the 16th century that is kept in the Dominican Republic’s Salvaleón de Higüey city. One of the two national celebrations honoring the Virgin Mary is “Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia,” as it is known in Spanish. The other is Our Lady of Mercedes Day, which falls on September 24.

The History Of Our Lady of Altagracia

The Virgin Mary has a lengthy history in the Dominican Republic and is linked to two distinct legends. There is a tale about a small child in Salvaleón de Higüey whose merchant father always brought her gifts from his travels. After having a dream about a painting of the Virgin Mary, the daughter asked her father to bring back that exact portrait. Her father looked everywhere for this photo, but he couldn’t find it. After conceding defeat, he made his way home and stopped at an inn for a nap. An elderly man with a painting called “Our Lady of Altagracia” overheard the merchant talking to other travelers.

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He presented this picture to the merchant, whose daughter hung it up in her room since she loved it so much. But when she woke up every morning, the artwork was under an orange tree outside her house. They concluded that the picture should not belong to just one family, but be displayed for all Dominicans to enjoy. In honor of the Virgin Mary and her painting, a church was built in this location. To this day, people present oranges to the image.

Another origin story concerns two brothers from Europe who arrived in the Dominican Republic in the sixteenth century. When they moved to Salvaleón de Higüey, they gave the town’s church a painting of the Virgin Mary. Since then, it has been revered. The Catholic Church decided to honor the artwork and celebrate the Virgin Mary on January 21 every year.

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Activities for Our Lady of Altagracia

Pay attention to the music.

There should be a ton of songs dedicated to Our Lady of Altagracia since she is the greatest of all saints. Look over this music selection online and select your favorite.

Recognize the painting

Grab some reading material so you can talk about the painting’s background. To captivate more people with this intriguing past, you may even lend and share these tales with close ones.

Add oranges to your celebrations.

Grab a bunch of oranges and enjoy some feast fun in the Dominican manner. Whether you choose to cook, consume them raw, or grow an orange tree, make sure the humble orange is a prominent part of your Our Lady of Altagracia celebration.

5 Facts About Lady Of Altagracia And The Dominican Republic

  • The Christian-Catholic faith was brought to the Dominican Republic via Spanish colonization, and it quickly took hold as the official religion.
  • Over 800,000 of them come to see Mary annually for this event at the Basilica.
  • The scene depicted in the painting depicts the moment just following Jesus Christ’s birth in the manger.
  • Made of enamel, gold, and precious stones, it’s arguably one of the most exquisite examples of Dominican gold work.
  • The image was given real crowns in 1922 and 1979, the latter of which being a golden tiara that Pope John Paul II gave the Virgin personally.

Significance of Our Lady of Altagracia Day

The faith of the Dominicans is remarkable.

Despite the extreme cold this country experiences in January, hundreds of devotees will not miss this festival of religion. For the majority of Dominicans, Our Lady of Altagracia represents the country and is their most revered religious figure.

The holiday has a lengthy and fascinating past.

This age-old story of faith and loyalty endures to this day, and its popularity only grows with time. One in ten or twelve Dominicans is named after the Virgin Mary, even now.

Altagracia is a bridge connecting nations.

The Altagracia is revered in numerous nations, such as Kenya and Lebanon, and is the object of faith for Christians in over 21 countries. She is the lone thread of faith that ties all these nations and their citizens together.


Year Date Day
2024 January 21 Sunday
2025 January 21 Tuesday
2026 January 21 Wednesday
2027 January 21 Thursday
2028 January 21 Friday
Farheen Ashraf
Farheen Ashraf
Farheen Ashraf is a History graduate. She writes on a variety of topics, including business, entertainment, laws, poetry, stories, travel, and more. Her passion for writing has led her to explore a variety of genres.

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