Got an idea for a holiday? Send it to us

Submit Now

National Dolores Day – April 12, 2023

National Dolores Day is celebrated on April 12 every year. “Dolores” is a feminine name mostly found in Spanish-speaking countries. Notable examples include Dolores Ibárruri, a Spanish republican politician, and Dolores Del Rio, the first Latin film star to work in Hollywood. The name’s popularity rose sharply due to the strong influence the Roman Catholic Church had on it, as this name also refers to the Virgin Mary. In the past, the name Dolores was often preceded by the name Maria, as in the case of the Spanish noblewoman, Juana María de Los Dolores de León Smith.

History of National Dolores Day

The word ‘Dolores’ is of Spanish origin. It is the plural form of the Spanish word ‘dolor,’ which means ‘pain’ or ‘sorrow.’ Even in Latin, the word dolor has the same meaning. The use of Dolores as a feminine name started with the Roman Catholic Church, whose influence in Spain began in 1 A.D. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was given many titles, including the Latin ‘Mater Dolorosa’ or ‘Mother of Sorrows,’ that became an essential subject for Marian art in the Church as well.

In Spain, Mary held the title, ‘Nuestra Señora de los Dolores’ (La Virgen María de los Dolores), which translates to ‘Our Lady of Sorrows’ in English. The emphasis has always been on the sorrow and pain Mother Mary went through. In Christian iconography, particularly in the Roman Catholic Church, the ‘Seven Sorrows of Mother Mary’ is a popular art theme and a part of the faith. Dolores has a few English variants, including Delora, Delores, and Deloris. The French variants of this name are Dolorès, Douleurs, and Lola. Lolita is a diminutive or short form of the name.

The name Dolores became prevalent in the twentieth century in English-speaking countries, particularly in the U.S., where it was one of the top choices for feminine baby names in the 1920s and 30s. Actresses such as Dolores Costello, Dolores del Rio, and Dolores Moran made the name synonymous with Hollywood and gave it a starry appeal. Perhaps the most famous Dolores of modern times is Dolores O’Riordan, the lead singer of the Irish rock band “The Cranberries.” Another character who made this name famous is Dolores Umbridge, the primary antagonist in J.K. Rowling’s masterpiece, “Harry Potter.”

National Dolores Day timeline

1955
The Controversial Novel on the Stands

Vladimir Nabokov, a Russian-American novelist, publishes “Lolita,” a novel about Humbert and Dolores ‘Lolita’ Haze.

1963
The Move From Hollywood to the Church

Dolores Hart, a celebrated actress with 10 films under her belt, becomes a nun after meeting Pope XXIII.

1994
The Irish Protest Song

O’Riordan, the lead singer of the band, “The Cranberries,” pens her famous hit ‘Zombie,’ an anti-war song protesting the 1993 Warrington Bombings.

2017
The Documentary on Dorores Huerta

The documentary, titled “Dolores,” tells the story of Dolores Huerta, an American labor union activist and co-founder of the United Farm Workers, and her role in organizing the California farmworkers' rights movement.

National Dolores Day FAQs

Is the name Dolly a short form of Dolores?

Dolly is often used as a short version of the name Dolores.

Is Dolores an old-fashioned name?

Fewer than 50 babies per year get this name, making it one of the more neglected and somewhat outdated ones today.

Is Dolores a Catholic name?

It is a purely Catholic name; Dolores is shortened from Maria (de Los) Dolores, the Roman Catholic epithet of the Virgin Mary as, ‘Our Lady of Sorrows.’

National Dolores Day Activities

  1. Listen to The Cranberries

    Sit back and listen to the haunting melody of O’Riordan’s voice. Besides their smash hit, Zombie, this famous Irish rock band has several other mind-blowing songs you can groove to.

  2. Organize a movie marathon

    You can watch the “Harry Potter” films, one of Costello’s many productions, or classic movies starring actresses by this name. Invite friends and family over to enjoy an amazing movie night.

  3. Read Lolita

    Find out why the story of Dolores Haze was so popular. The novel is still considered taboo in some parts of the world and attracted much attention when it was released. Many countries have even banned this book.

5 Fun Facts About Dolores

  1. Inspiration for a character

    Rowling, the author of the “Harry Potter” novels, revealed that the character of Umbridge was based on a teacher she had an intense rivalry.

  2. Singing for the Pope

    O’Riordan performed at the Vatican thrice in 2001, 2002, and 2005, before Pope Benedict XVI.

  3. Alice in Wonderland

    One of the main characters of the HBO series “Westworld," Dolores Abernathy, was inspired by Lewis Caroll’s classic book, “Alice in Wonderland.”

  4. Goddess of the silent screen

    The actress Costello, the grandmother of actress Drew Barrymore, was also known as the ‘goddess of the silent screen.’

  5. Women’s hall of fame

    Huerta, the famous American labor leader, was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1993.

Why We Love National Dolores Day

  1. Can’t beat a classic

    Dolores is one of those unique, vintage names. The classics never go out of style. Even though it is not much in use today, it is still considered an attractive name with a fascinating history.

  2. A musical touch

    Like Dolores Madrigal from the animated film “Encanto,” there’s a touch of magic in the name, as well as an unmistakable musical lilt to its sound. Many artists carried this name, which isn’t a surprise!

  3. Hint of stardom

    The name Dolores is also associated with great women. From actresses and activists to singers and nobles, many great personalities had this name. That makes it a lucky charm, it seems!

National Dolores Day dates

YearDateDay
2023April 12Wednesday
2024April 12Friday
2025April 12Saturday
2026April 12Sunday
2027April 12Monday

Want to sponsor this holiday?

Holidays Straight to Your Inbox

Every day is a holiday!
Receive fresh holidays directly to your inbox.