The Day of Our Lady of Africa in Spain
The Day of Our Lady of Africa, or "Día de Nuestra Señora de África", is a religious celebration in Spain that honors the patroness of the city of Ceuta, a Spanish autonomous city located on the north coast of Africa. This special day is observed annually on August 5th.
The Day of Our Lady of Africa has been celebrated in Spain since the 15th century. It originated in 1421 when the Portuguese explorer, Infante Dom Henrique, also known as Prince Henry the Navigator, discovered the image of the Virgin Mary in Ceuta. He then proclaimed her the patron saint of the city. Later, in 1664, the Virgin of Africa was declared the city's official patroness by the Spanish authorities after Ceuta became a Spanish territory in 1668. Since then, the city has celebrated the Day of Our Lady of Africa annually to honor and show gratitude to their patroness.
National customs for The Day of Our Lady of Africa in Spain
Although The Day of Our Lady of Africa is mainly celebrated in Ceuta, it is also acknowledged in other parts of Spain. The celebration includes religious processions where the statue of the Virgin of Africa is carried through the streets of Ceuta, adorned with flowers and surrounded by devotees praying and singing hymns. Masses and special church services are held in her honor, and people often attend these religious events to pay their respects and seek blessings.
Local customs for The Day of Our Lady of Africa in Spain
In Ceuta, the Day of Our Lady of Africa is celebrated with great enthusiasm and devotion. The city comes alive with various festivities and events, including traditional music and dance performances, as well as cultural and sporting activities. Locals dress up in traditional attire and participate in the processions, while the streets are decorated with colorful banners and flags.
One of the unique local customs is the "Bajada de la Virgen," which is a maritime procession where a replica of the Virgin of Africa is taken out to sea on a decorated boat, accompanied by fishermen's boats, to bless the waters and protect the city. This event symbolizes the close relationship between the people of Ceuta and the sea.
The Day of Our Lady of Africa is a significant celebration for the people of Ceuta, as well as for those who hold a special devotion to the Virgin of Africa in other parts of Spain. This annual event is an opportunity for the community to come together and honor their patroness, who has played a vital role in the city's history and identity. With its unique customs and vibrant festivities, the Day of Our Lady of Africa is a cherished tradition that continues to be an important part of Spain's rich cultural heritage.