The “Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel”, is a Roman Catholic and religious public holiday on 16 July in Chile. The holiday gained official status in 2007, when it also replaced the former holiday of “Corpus Christi” (Body of Christ).
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Though little used or known to most people, the full title of this holiday is, translated of course from Spanish, “Solemnity of the Virgin of Carmel, Queen and Patron of Chile”. And indeed, Our Lady of Mount Carmel is the official patron saint of Chile, which is why her feast day has public holiday status there.
But the origin of these traditions goes back to 12th-Century Catholic hermits who lived in Mount Carmel in modern day Israel. A monastery was built in Haifa, which still stands today, and a whole order of monks called the “Carmelite Order” was begun.
There are now monasteries in Chile and other countries that are much visited on and around Our Lady of Mount Carmel day. Despite a low ebb for the Carmelite Order around 1700, the group has revived and spread its influence from around 1900 up to the present.
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