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The Assumption of the Virgin Mary is a public holiday in some countries which marks the bodily taking up of the Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her early life. The Assumption is a major feast day, celebrated on 15 August.
The Assumption is a major feast day, celebrated on 15 August. In some countries, the feast is also marked as a Holy Day of Obligation. It was not always an official dogma of the Roman Catholic Church – not until Pope Pius XII ruled it so in 1950.
The dogma of the Assumption of Marry in the Eastern Churches has its roots in the early centuries of the Church, while the Catholic Church teaches you that when Mary ended her life, God assumed her body and soul into heaven.
While the Eastern Orthodox believe in Dormition, they object to the papal definition of dogma and simply believe that tradition goes back to apostolic times. The feast is firstly celebrated in the Eastern Orthodox Church since the sixth century.
The Assumption is important to many Orthodox and Catholic Christians as the Virgin Mary’s heavenly birthday. It is also known as the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary or the Feast of the Assumption. In the eastern countries, it is known as the Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God.
It signifies the Blessed Virgin’s passing into eternal life and because of that, it is the most important of all Marian feasts. The universal belief of Mary’s assumption has been framed in ancient legends and stories which, though not strictly historical in themselves, confirm the underlying tradition.
Assumption customs in Europe
- In Italy, the colorful procession moves through the streets together with the fireworks in order to exhibit the celebration of the Feast of the Assumption.
- In France, its common to attend church services and many churches are dedicated to holding special celebrations on this date.
- In Greece, it is one of the largest celebrations where numerous festivals and events are hosted throughout the country.
- In Spain, the feast of the Assumption is celebrated since the 18th century. The festivities begin on August 11 and conclude on August 15 with a grand celebration in the streets of Madrid.
- Sinj, a town in Croatia, is the site of one of the largest celebrations during the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. More than 50,000 Catholics celebrate it at the largest Marian shrine each year.