Local January 21, 2021 | 4:19 pm

These are the 10 things you didn’t know about the Virgin of Altagracia

Cross-bearer Linardy Loveras processes near an image of Mary during a special Mass marking the feast of Our Lady of Altagracia at St. Agnes Cathedral in Rockville Centre, N.Y., Jan. 24. The feast, which falls on Jan. 21 and dates to 1514, is the oldest Marian devotion in the Western Hemisphere. Our Lady of Altagracia is the protectress of the Dominican Republic. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz) (Jan. 29, 2009)

Today, January 21, the country celebrates the Day of Our Lady of Altagracia, the Dominican people’s protective and spiritual mother.

Since its origins, the “Tatica” (as some call it), there are a series of curious facts, which perhaps many people did not know and are presented below:

  • 3 out of 10 women in the Dominican Republic are named Altagracia.
  • If a person (whether male or female) were born on a Saturday or any date in January, they would be named Altagracia.
  • The painting of Altagracia shows a woman’s image in front of her child, and behind her is Joseph as it is written in Revelation 12:5.
  • The virgin has a crown of 12 stars, symbolizing the twelve apostles.
  • The name “Altagracia” was given because she is the Mother of the Son of God.
  • The frame that holds the picture of Altagracia is made of pure gold.
  • Hundreds of parishioners come to the Basilica of Higüey, to make promises so that the Virgin will grant them health, employment, family reconciliation, and other wishes that, to see them fulfilled, need the intervention of the mother of Jesus.
  • Others also go there to thank her for the favors received.
  • Legend has it that an older man gave Altagracia the image to a father for his daughter, who had asked him to bring it from the capital. The image disappeared from the house and appeared in an orange tree. The people interpreted this event as a wish of the Virgin to place it there, and it was done.
  • The picture of Altagracia was brought to the Dominican Republic by two brothers Alonso and Antonio Trejo, who came from Extremadura, Spain, in 1514.
  • The date of January 21 originates from the battle of Limonade won by the Dominicans against the French troops in 1691.
  • Our Lady of Altagracia has been crowned twice:

– August 15, 1922, by Pope Pius XI, in his pastoral visit to the Dominican Republic;

– On October 12, 1992, by the pontiff John Paul II, who, during his second trip to the country, personally crowned the Virgin’s image with a silver gilded diadem.