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Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza (Our Lady of Hope), Oviedo, Asturias, Spain

Commemorated on First Tuesday Pentecost, December 18
Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza (Our Lady of Hope), Oviedo, Asturias, Spain
Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza, Oviedo, Asturias, Spain
 Oviedo, capital of the rugged land of Asturias in northern Spain, has honored Our Lady of Hope on this date for hundreds of years. In 1232, Doña Velasquita Giráldez gave its tailors' guild a hospital and chapel dedicated to Santa María, along with several farms to cover their maintenance costs. In return the trade guild agreed to have masses and prayers said annually for her soul. By 1450, the devotional Confraternity of La Balesquida (i.e. Velasquita) was assuming some of those duties. Their May procession with the Virgin's statue, followed by a lunch of bread and wine, has evolved into a week-long celebration culminating on the Tuesday after Pentecost, a holiday known in Oviedo as Martes de Campo or Martes del Bollu, Field Tuesday or Loaf Tuesday, for the sausage-filled loaves distributed in St. Francis Park after mass.   
Dedicated to Our Lady of Hope, the Chapel of La Balesquida, rebuilt in 1876, stands near the original St. Mary's Hospital. The Virgin's statue was made in the 1700s as an image to be dressed, with only the head and hands carved and painted. Our Lady of Hope doesn't always look the same, because her hand positions and clothing change with the occasion, but on her breast is always pinned the medal of the City of Oviedo, given by the Council on May 25, 1952.
In addition to the celebration at Pentecost, the Confraternity observes the Feast of Our Lady of Hope on December 18, an old Catholic holy day still kept in Spanish-speaking countries in honor of Mary's pregnancy or "expectation." It is sometimes called the feast of Our Lady of the O for the advent antiphons sung at that time: O come, O come ...
(Information and picture from the Confraternity's website,  




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