Assumption of the Virgin Mary (Assomption) is a festival, which is religious, yet it is also an office holiday.
Apocryphal sources of the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Mary's Assumption is not mentioned in the Bible. The ecclesiastical tradition is based on an apocryphal text known as the Transitus Mariae. The content of the apocrypha describes Mary's encounter with the angel that heralds her death. The taking of Mary's soul to heaven through Archangel Michael is also described. The writings of Gregory of Tours mention that the holiday existed in Gaul as early as the 6th century, only the date of the celebration was different, i.e. January 18. This tradition was not officially recognized by the church. The dogma of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was proclaimed on November 1, 1950 by Pope Pius XII.
Celebrations at the Notre Dame Cathedral
The famous Notre Dame Cathedral is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. This makes the celebrations in the center of Paris of special importance. Concerts of Gregorian singing are held in the cathedral, masses are celebrated not only in French, but also in Creole. Events are organized in the cathedral, which are partly religious rituals and partly historical reconstructions. Pilgrims who go to the celebration of the feast in the cathedral of Notre Dame, in addition to participating in traditional services, take part in processions with torches, which are called "vespers". During the celebrations, Catholics focus on common prayer of the rosary. Around 15,000 people visit the cathedral around August 15. An inseparable part of the celebrations is the presence of the police and the army, which protect the cathedral.
Louis XIII and the lack of male heir
In 1637, King Louis XIII ordered his subjects to hold a procession in honor of Mary in each parish. Being a worshiper of Mary, he wanted to ask her for a male heir he was looking forward to receive. Soon the descendant was born. In connection with this event, on February 10, 1638, Louis XIII consecrated France to the Blessed Virgin Mary and proclaimed her the first patroness of the country on the Seine. Louis XIII made the date August 15 a national holiday.
Celebration of the festival in Lourdes
Other important celebrations of the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary take place in Lourdes during the French National Pilgrimage. The event gathers about 10,000 pilgrims every year. The event is organized by the Augustinian priests, also known as the Assumptionists. Tradition of the pilgrimage dates back to 1872. The organizers of the event wanted to save France. There were social riots in France by the time. The first national pilgrimage to Lourdes was made on 21 July 1873.
Our Lady of Herbs. A different face of the holiday
Feast of the Ascension of the Blessed Virgin Mary is also celebrated in other countries, in a different way than in France. In the Czech Republic, Germany and Poland it is also celebrated as the Feast of Our Lady of Herbs (German Krautertag). The traditions related to the celebration of the holiday are related to the traditions present in the territories of these countries before the adoption of Catholicism. In the famous pagan temple in Arkona (today's Germany, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern region), worshipers of the sun god Swarożyc used to shower the priest with wreaths of herbs and crops at about the same time. It was believed that if this could be done completely, the harvest would be remarkable the following year. In the church there are various customs, connected with the changing of seasons. For example, at 15th of August in the Armenian Church, there is a blessing of grapes (Khaglogh Orhnek). In Poland priests bless herbs.
Regular life in the time of the festival
During the day of clebrations, people often take holiday break, joining more than one weekend or days which are off, and call it "la pont" (the bridge). During the celebrations of the festival, such practice and the ensuing break, is called "Le Pont de l'Assomption".
We asks for your consent to use your personal data
Personalised ads and content, ad and content measurement, audience insights and product development
Store and/or access information on a device
Your personal data will be processed and information from your device (cookies, unique identifiers, and other device data) may be stored by, accessed by and shared with third party vendors, or used specifically by this site. Some vendors may process your personal data on the basis of legitimate interest, which you can object to by managing your options below.