Our Lady of Mercedes Day & The start of Yom HaKipurim


Our Lady of Mercedes Day & The start of Yom HaKipurim –The Day of Atonement (Reporting from Las Terrrenas Dominican Republic in the beautiful Caribbean)

Today is a national Holiday in the Dominican Republic. Our Lady of Mercedes Day is rooted in the Spanish occupation of the island and the Catholic Church. Our Lady of Mercedes is the patron saint name of the Virgin Mary. In 1615 the Spanish Order of Mercedians established this day as a feast day based on an event reported to happen in 1495.

In 1495 the Spanish were battling the native Taino Indians when according to legend Our Lady of Mercedes appeared the-virgin-mary-874005_640and scared away the Taino thusly turning the tide and ensuring victory for the Spaniards. They say that she has re-appeared several times over the years and today there stands a church at the site named Inglesia Las Mercedes.

Yom HaKipurim (more commonly known as Yom Kippur) which generally translates to “day of atonement” begins at nightfall tonight and ends with nightfall tomorrow. This tradition is observed by some Christians and many Jews. During Yom Kippur followers do not eat or drink anything and no work is done. We note however that many scholars agree it is not proper to fast when to do so would be harmful to your health. In the low season here in Las Terrenas and the Caribbean it may be necessary to break ones fast to avoid heat related health issues.

Interestingly there is emerging science that hypothesizes fasting may be beneficial to health in certain circumstances.

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