Saint Ursula’s Day

Saint Ursula’s Day is a public holiday that’s observed on the 21st of October every year in the British Virgin Islands. However, if that date happens to fall on a weekend, then the holiday is usually observed on the following Monday so that people don’t miss out on their day off. This holiday commemorates Saint Ursula’s Feast Day, which is the patron saint of the British Virgin Islands.

This is because when Columbus sighted the islands, he named them Santa Ursula las Once Mil Virgenes, or St. Ursula and her 11,000 Virgins in English. It’s unknown whether Columbus gave the islands that name because he discovered it on October 21st in 1493, or if it merely reminded him of the legend of Saint Ursula.

The History Of Saint Ursula’s Day

Saint Ursula is a Christian saint of Romano-British descent, and whose death occurred on October 21st in 383. According to legend, she was a Dumnonian princess who set sail with 11,000 virginal handmaidens to join her future husband, the Governor Conan Meriadoc of Armorica — which would be modern-day Britanny.

According to this story, when she left the British coast in her fleet, a miraculous storm carried them to Gaul in just one day. She then decided that it was a sign that she should take a pilgrimage around Europe before she got married. Her first stop was in Rome where she managed to persuade the Pope and the Bishop of Ravenna to join her pilgrimage.

After a while, she ended up at Cologne, which was under siege by the Huns. All of the virgins were beheaded by the Huns and Ursula received a fatal arrow wound from the leader of the Huns. All of the alleged relics of Ursula were then taken back to Cologne and housed in the Basilica of Saint Ursula.

Observing Saint Ursula’s Day In The British Virgin Islands

This holiday is observed with a day off for the general public, religious ceremonies, and public events that include festivals, fairs, and exhibitions. It’s a day for people to spend with their loved ones and to enjoy one of the many activities observed on this holiday.

Where is it celebrated?
British Virgin Islands (Public holiday)
When is it?
This year (2023)
October 21 Saturday
Next year (2024)
October 21 Monday
Last year (2022)
October 21 Friday