Today is August 15th, The Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Sounds like quite the esoteric topic for a post, but I wanted to share this day with you in the form of pictures and anecdotes because it’s a big deal in my family!
In Lebanon today, it is a statutory holiday and it is highly celebrated. You go to church, you visit and spend time with everyone named Mary, and you even give them presents. And, because my name is Mary, today is my day!
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Feast of the Assumption celebrates Mary when, upon her death, she was ‘taken up body and soul into heavenly glory’.
When my grandmother was alive, this day was her day, too – basically like a birthday celebration. August 15th was bigger for her than any other day of the year because her name was Marie and she was very religious. We would go over to her house and exchange gifts and have lunch with the extended family.
After lunch, we would visit other family members whose name was Mary or some derivative of that name. This tradition is so big that even if I’m not in Lebanon when this Feast occurs, my aunts and uncles will call my parents to wish them and me the best on this day because they have a daughter named Mary!
When I was in Lebanon in the spring (blog post link), we visited Our Lady of Lebanon, a visitation site and cathedral dedicated to Lebanon’s patron saint, the Virgin Mary. The views of Jounieh Bay are breathtaking from here where the Virgin Mary majestically overlooks the sea. I’m sure Our Lady of Lebanon is crowded today as visitors pay homage to the Virgin Mary.
On my Lebanon trip, I also took lots of photos of the visitation ‘nooks’ that families in the Christian Maronite villages construct near their homes to respect and honour the various Saints for which Lebanon is known. Many of these visitation nooks are of the Virgin Mary. Here’s one example:
When I moved to Canada and August 15th came around, my friends would hear about my special day as I would tell them that my parents and family had called to wish me a Happy Day. Most people in North America don’t do anything special for today.
In the West, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is listed in the Calendar of Saints, but it is not a widely observed holiday. At mass, the gospel and sermon are about the Virgin Mary but that’s where the celebration ends.
In the East, the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is observed and celebrated in Greece, Cyprus, Malta, Portugal, France, Poland, parts of Switzerland and Germany, and some other countries. In South America, it is also observed in Costa Rica, Columbia, Venezuela, and Chile.
Do you celebrate the Feast of the Assumption in any special way today? Do you know anyone who does? I would love to hear about it. BTW, I’m making a peach crumble as part of my celebration for tonight!Email This Post