Our Lady of Aparecida Day in Cantabria Date in the current year: September 15, 2024

Our Lady of Aparecida Day in Cantabria In some autonomous communities of Spain, the feast day of their patron saint is celebrated as a regional public holiday. For example, Cantabria celebrates Our Lady of Aparecida Day (Festividad de la Bien Aparecida) every year on September 15.

The veneration of the Virgin Mary is strong in the Catholic Church. The so-called Marian art (images, statues and frescoes representing Mary at different stages in her life) is an important aspect of this veneration. In Spain and many countries of Latin America that used to be Spanish colonies, the veneration of statues of the Virgin Mary is particularly widespread.

Our Lady of Aparecida (Nuestra Señora de la Bien Aparecida or Virgen de la Bien Aparecida) is a small wooden statue of the Virgin Mary that was found in 1605 in a window of a hermitage near what is now the municipality of Hoz de Marrón. The statue itself is thought to date back to the 15th century. It is about 21.5 cm tall (including the pedestal), which makes it one of the smallest religious images in Spain.

The title “Aparecida” means “she who has been revealed” or “she who has appeared”. The veneration of Our Lady of Aparecida became widespread in the region in the 18th century, but it wasn’t until 1906 that she was officially proclaimed as the patron saint of the diocese and region.

The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Aparecida is located in Hoz de Marrón, about 4 km from the Cantabrian capital of Ampuero. On the feast day of Our Lady of Aparacida, celebrated exactly a month after the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and coinciding with the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, thousands of pilgrims come to the temple to pay their respects to the patroness of Cantabria.

The celebration of Our Lady of Aparecida Day begins in the evening of September 14 with a floral offering and a torchlight procession. On September 15, hundreds of thousands of pilgrims come to the temple to attend solemn Masses. The sanctuary is situated on a hill, and 15 steps pilgrims have to climb symbolize the Stations of the Cross. It is customary to pray at each of the steps on the way to the sanctuary.

Although the feast of Our Lady of Aparecida is a solemn holiday, not all festivities are religious in nature. There are communal meals, street fairs, singing, dancing, and other entertainment. Since the day is a public holiday, most employees get a day off, and schools, non-essential government offices, and most businesses are closed.

The patroness of Cantabria isn’t the only one to bear the title of Aparecida. Her namesake, called Nossa Senhora da Conceição Aparecida in Portuguese, is the principal patroness of Brazil. Her feast day is celebrated on October 12 and is a public holiday in Brazil.

Cantabria also isn’t the only autonomous community of Spain to have a public holiday dedicated to its patron saint. The residents of the autonomous city of Ceuta, for example, celebrate Our Lady of Africa Day on August 5. Our Lady of Africa is the patroness of African Christians, and her veneration in Ceuta is fitting considering that the city is situated in North Africa.

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Our Lady of Aparecida Day, religious observances, holidays in Spain, holidays in Cantabria, regional public holidays