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Assumption of Mary (Spain) – August 15, 2023

The Assumption of Mary in Spain, observed annually on August 15, is a religious holiday for Spain, commemorating Virgin Mary’s ascension into Heaven after her death. Sometimes called Assumption Day, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God, and the Feast of the Assumption, this day is the most important religious day in the Catholic calendar for the Spanish. The Assumption of Mary is observed throughout Spain. It includes spiritual and secular customs like church services, parades, feasts, and more because it’s believed that Mother Mary’s body got transported into Heaven rather than going through the usual post-death process.

History of Assumption of Mary (Spain)

It wasn’t until the 20th century that this event was declared dogma, a fixed belief that people are expected to accept as genuine. This is in contrast to the fact that the assumption of Mary was widely accepted in the Christian world in the 4th century itself, despite the Church not making any official statement in this regard.

The Assumption of Mary celebrations in Spain started in the 1700s. The festivities begin on August 11 and last through August 15. On the final day of the festivities, a sizable street party would be taking place in Madrid, with everyone dressed in vibrant historical attire known as ‘chulapo suits.’ The city also presents a unique performance of “La Verbena de la Paloma,” a Spanish lyric-dramatic musical theater. The musical invites locals to audition for roles, who frequently show up in large numbers.

It’s not just the capital city that blends worship and fun on Assumption of Mary; the festivities happen nationwide. People dress in colorful costumes and enjoy various activities such as fairs, parades, foot races, and even costume contests. Some people choose to attend Church and mass, while others take this time to enjoy themselves with their loved ones.

Of course, no festival is complete without a feast to celebrate; the Assumption of Mary is no different. People celebrate with special treats like ‘churros,’ ‘sangria,’ and ‘paella.’ Churchgoers aren’t far behind in their celebrations. On this day, a mass happens every hour in every church, and the festivities culminate in huge, hour-long parades through the streets.

Assumption of Mary (Spain) timeline

330 A.D.
The Earliest Mentions of Mary's Final Rest

A tomb uncovered in a church crypt in Zaragoza, Spain, from this period contains the world's first mention of Mary's last rest, which talks about her death and ascent to the heavens.

9th Century
Reaching New Heights of Popularity

Pope Nicholas I elevates the celebrations, declaring them as important as Christmas and Easter, a.k.a. the Incarnation and Resurrection of Christ.

1700s
The Celebrations in Spain

The Spanish Empire begins celebrating the Assumption of Mary during this period.

1950
The Assumption of Mary is Official

Pope Pius XII declares the Assumption of Mary to be dogma in the apostolic constitution 'Munificentissimus Deus.'

Assumption of Mary (Spain) FAQs

What “Bible” verse is the Assumption of Mary?

‘Luke 1:28,’ in which the Archangel Gabriel greets Mary with the words, “Hail Mary, full of grace” since Mary’s bodily assumption is a natural consequence of being full of grace; ‘1 Corinthians 15:23’ and ‘Matthew 27:52–53,’ concerning the certainty of bodily resurrection for all who have faith in Christ.

Which countries celebrate the Assumption of Mary?

Countries like Spain, Austria, Belgium, France, Poland, Portugal, Greece, and Switzerland observe a public holiday on this day. It is also a celebration in the U.K., U.S., Australia, and Canada, although the public is not given a day off on this day.

Why do Catholics pray to Mary?

Catholics do not pray to Mary as if she were God. Prayer to Mary is the memory of the great mysteries of their faith, Incarnation, Redemption through Christ in the rosary, praise to God for the things he has done in and through one of his creatures (Hail Mary), and intercession.

How to Observe Assumption of Mary (Spain)

  1. Decorate like the Spanish do

    Color up your homes, gardens, and balconies with fabric and flowers to celebrate this day. Invite others around you to do the same and dazzle everyone with your neighborhood's brilliance.

  2. Bring some Spanish flavor to your day

    Chow down on a tortilla or two, enjoy a ‘paella,’ or drink some delicious ‘gazpacho.’ After your Spanish feast, you can immerse yourself in the culture by dancing the flamenco or listening to Spanish music.

  3. Look at Assumption Day artwork

    From Michelangelo to da Vinci to Caravaggio, every art world great has depicted this special event in a painting or two. Explore their artwork and depictions online.

5 Interesting Facts About The Assumption Of Mary

  1. Where it took place

    Some say it was in Ephesus, an ancient Greek city, while others believe it happened in Jerusalem.

  2. Assumption v.s Dormition

    Eastern Orthodox tradition follows the Dormition of Mary, which believes the theory that Mary died and ascended post this, which varies from the Eastern Christian tradition of assumption, which assumes that Mary directly ascended to the heavens.

  3. It’s depicted on a famous basilica

    A door on St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome depicts the moment Mary ascended to the heavens.

  4. It's a holy day of obligation

    Roman and Eastern Catholics are obliged to attend church services on this day.

  5. It's combined with Mother's Day

    Costa Rica and certain parts of Belgium celebrate the Assumption of Mary and Mother's Day on the same date.

Why Assumption of Mary (Spain) is Important

  1. It makes us think

    We need mysteries of faith and border-bending life-and-death ideas to contemplate so that we delve deeper into spirituality and what makes the world. Contemplation is integral to how individuals construct meaningful lives and relate to the world they live in.

  2. It's an enduring celebration

    Assumption of Mary has been celebrated for centuries, and it remains a prominent event for most of the Christian world. The Assumption of Mary reminds us that God's salvation is holistic in body, soul, mind, and spirit.

  3. The celebration brings people together

    Assumption of Mary celebrations helps bring people together in a shared event and allows them to share their joy with the world. People get to celebrate Mother Mary and enjoy a new experience.

Assumption of Mary (Spain) dates

YearDateDay
2023August 15Tuesday
2024August 15Thursday
2025August 15Friday
2026August 15Saturday
2027August 15Sunday

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