Our Lady of Africa Day in Ceuta Date in the current year: August 5, 2024

Our Lady of Africa Day in Ceuta On August 5, the residents of Ceuta (a Spanish autonomous city on the north coast of Africa) celebrate Our Lady of Africa Day (Nuestra Señora de África). This holiday honors the patron saint of the city.

The mother of Jesus Christ is known by many different titles, epithets, invocations and other names that are used variably by different Christian denominations. Many of these titles are dogmatic in nature, others are allegorical or poetic. A number of titles appeared due to geographic reasons during the Сhiristianization of Asia, Africa and the Americas. Our Lady of Africa is one of such titles.

Our Lady of Africa is considered the patron saint of African Christians. There are several churches dedicated to her in former European colonies, for example, the Cathedral of Our Lady of Africa in the Ugandan capital of Kampala and Notre-Dame d’Afrique in Algiers, Algeria. And Ceuta, a small Spanish exclave in North Africa, has the Shrine of Our Lady of Africa, also known as the Church of Santa María de África (Santuario de Santa María de África).

The history of the shrine goes back to the wooden statue of Virgin Mary that was brought here by Prince Henry the Navigator, the son of the Portuguese king John I. Henry encouraged his father to conquer Ceuta in 1415 and himself participated in the capture of the city. At first, a primitive wooden shrine was constructed for the statue. The construction of the present-day church began in the late 17th century.

The Shrine of Our Lady of Africa was consecrated on August 5, 1752. This day is now celebrated as the fest day of the patron saint of Ceuta. Our Lady of Africa Day is an official holiday and a non-working day in Ceuta but a regular working day in the rest of Spain. On the occasion of the holiday, most organizations, businesses and shops in Ceuta are closed.

The statue of Our Lady of Africa plays an important role in the celebration. A group of men known as costaleros carry it in a festive procession through the city streets as people throw flowers from their balconies. A lot of people also visit the annual fair that usually begins in late July and lasts until August 5. The end of the fair and holiday is marked with fireworks.

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Our Lady of Africa Day, holidays in Ceuta, holidays in Spain, religious observances, patron saint