Catholics in the United States celebrate the Feast of the Assumption of Mary on August 15th.
It is believed to be the day when Mother Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, was physically and spiritually taken into heaven to be with her son forever.
It is a Holy Day of Obligation which means that churchgoers are obligated to attend mass on this day.
The Tale of the Assumption of Mary
There was a rising concern about Mary's unknown fate during the 4th century. Three major beliefs about how she met her end are:
- she died as a martyr,
- she died a peaceful death,
- she did not die.
Eventually, Bishop Epiphanius of Salamis wrote that no one knows for certain what her end was.
By the 8th century, it was established by believers that the Apostles witnessed Mary passing away.
But, after opening her tomb, St. Thomas found it empty and this led the Apostles to believe that her body ascended to heaven similar to Jesus.
Early traditions state that this happened in Jerusalem, but recent versions of the story say that her assumption took place in Ephesus at the House of the Virgin Mary.
Christians have been celebrating the Assumption of Mary since the 5th century. However, it became an official feast of the Catholic Church in the 8th century after the confirmation of Pope Leo IV.
In 1950 it was defined as a dogma of the Catholic Church by Pope Pius XII.
The story of the Assumption of Mary has been a very significant part of Catholic tradition and doctrine from the early Christianity centuries.
Pope Pius XII officially preached the ideology of the Assumption in 1950. It is said that Mary's sinless and pure life along with her role as the Mother of Jesus gave her a special place in heaven.
How the Assumption of Mary is Observed
The Assumption of Mary adds to the belief in the hope of eternity. Over the centuries, people have celebrated this hope through music, literature, and art.
Several cathedrals and churches worldwide dedicated altars and chapels to Mother Mary in honor of this day.
Her role in humanity's salvation is honored through mass in the Catholic Churches. There are also processions in her name and special prayers offered to her.
Families get together on this day to cherish it with traditions and food.
In Cleveland, Ohio there is a four-day festival to celebrate this feast day.
This day serves as a reminder to Catholics and people who believe in it that our life on earth is short and that joining Mother Mary and the saints in heaven is our ultimate goal.
Hence, the best celebration would be living a faithful, honorable, charitable, and hopeful life.