Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Feast of the

August 15
Assumption Day, called the Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God in the East, commemorates the belief that when Mary, the mother of Jesus, died, her body was not subjected to the usual process of physical decay but was "assumed" into heaven and reunited there with her soul. Like the Immaculate Conception, the Assumption wasn't always an official dogma of the Roman Catholic Church—not until Pope Pius XII ruled it so in 1950. It was, however, a pious belief held by most Orthodox Christians and some Anglicans. It is regarded as the principal feast day of the Virgin Mother.
This festival may be a Christianization of an earlier Artemis harvest feast, and in some parts of Europe it is still called the Feast of Our Lady of the Harvest . The people of Queven, France, actually reenact the Assumption by lowering a wooden angel from the tower of the church and then making her rise again toward "heaven." In Elche, Spain, a two-day enactment of the apocryphal Gospels is performed each year ( see Mystery Play of Elche). It is the national holiday of the Acadians in the Maritime Provinces of Canada, and is called tinta marre (meaning "a racket"). At 6 p.m. on the 15th, pots and pans are banged, whistles blown, and drums beaten. On the nearest Sunday, boats are decorated and sail past the dock where the priest blesses the fleet. Messina, Sicily, celebrates with a two-week festival including a human tableau of the Assumption and giant figures believed to symbolize the mythical founders of the city, Zancleo and his wife. The girl who portrays the Madonna is allowed to pardon one criminal.
In São Paulo and other parts of southern Brazil, the feast is called Nosa Senhora dos Navegantes, "Our Lady of the Navigators." Pageants are held on decorated canoes, each carrying a captain, a purser, three musicians, and two rowers. They travel to small villages to entertain and feast. Towns may have a church procession with musicians whose costumes and demeanors depict the Three Wise Men.
See also Blessing of the Grapes; Marymass Festival
CONTACTS:
Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute
University of Dayton
Dayton, OH 45469
937-229-4214; fax: 937-229-4258
www.udayton.edu
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia
242 Cleveland St.
Redfern, NSW 2016 Australia
61-2-9698-5066; fax: 61-2-9698-536
www.greekorthodox.org.au
SOURCES:
BkFest-1937, p. 172
DaysCustFaith-1957, p. 206
DictFolkMyth-1984, pp. 886, 1065
FestSaintDays-1915, p. 169
FestWestEur-1958, pp. 15, 47, 184, 203
FolkAmerHol-1999, p. 341
FolkWrldHol-1999, p. 494
OxYear-1999, p. 334
RelHolCal-2004, pp. 99, 124
References in periodicals archive ?
Speaking at the Panayia Chrysorogiatissa Monastery in Paphos on the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Chrysostomos said the situation was unacceptable and said it must not go unnoticed.

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