Saint Devote’s Day
Saint Devote’s Day is a holiday in Monaco that’s observed every January 27th. This day commemorates the Patron Saint of Monaco, Saint Devota, and her feast day in the Catholic Church. In Monaco, the “Legend of St. Devota” is one of the oldest traditions and influences Monaco culture, history, and the arts.
It’s also believed that this saint has protected the Principality numerous times through the centuries. Since 1942, during the reign of Prince Louis II, a fishing boat is lit by the Prince and Princess in front of the Eglise Sainte Devote. It’s then floated across the port and there’s a religious ceremony to honor Saint Devote.
The History Of Saint Devote’s Day In Monaco
According to oral and written tradition, Saint Devota was born in 283 AD in Corsica. She would go on to become a Christian and devote her life to the service of God. During the Diocletian Persecution, she would be imprisoned and tortured for her faith. Then, according to which story you believe, she was either racked or stoned to death in 303 AD.
After her death, Corsica’s governor ordered that her body be burned so that it wouldn’t become venerated. However, some Christians managed to save the body and placed it on a boat that was heading to Africa. Apparently, the boat would encounter a raging storm and a dove appeared to guide the boat safely to the coast. This is when the boat landed on January 27 in Monaco.
Over the years, this story has been told time and again in Monaco. This makes it one of the most-loved traditions in all of Monaco. Whole generations of families have celebrated this holiday and it’s still being celebrated to this day.
Observing Saint Devote’s Day
This holiday is actually started the night before when the celebrations on Port Hercule begins. This is when the boat is set on fire and set into the water. There’s also a fireworks display that follows not long after.
Then on the morning of Saint Devote’s Day, there’s a morning mass at the Cathedral of Monaco, a Presentation Parade through Monaco, and the day usually ends with a concert at Sainte Devote Church.