Feast of the Assumption

On August 15, many parts of Europe celebrate the Feast of the Assumption.

Assumption of the Virgin (Correggio)
Assumption of the Virgin by Correggio

Who observes Assumption Day?
Austria Austria Belgium Belgium
Burundi Burundi Chile Chile
Colombia Colombia Costa Rica Costa Rica
Croatia Croatia Cyprus Cyprus
France France Germany Germany (regional)
Greece Greece Italy Italy
Lebanon Lebanon Lithuania Lithuania
Luxembourg Luxembourg Malta Malta
Mauritius Mauritius Monaco Monaco
Poland Poland Portugal Portugal
Romania Romania Rwanda Rwanda
Slovenia Slovenia Spain Spain
Switzerland Switzerland (regional) Venezuela Venezuela

When is Assumption Day?

The holiday is celebrated annually on the 15th of August.

The Feast of the Assumption is a very important day in the Catholic religion. It is the principal feast of the Blessed Virgin, the mother of Jesus Christ.

History of Assumption Day

This feast commemorates two events - the departure of Mary from this life and the assumption of her body into heaven.

The Church's official doctrine of the Assumption says that at the end of her life on earth Mary was assumed, body and soul, into heaven.

Some mistakenly believe Mary "ascended" into heaven, which is incorrect. It was Jesus Christ who ascended into heaven, by his own power. But Mary was assumed or taken up into heaven by God.

Pope Pius Xll, in 1950, defined that Mary "after the completion of her earthly life...was assumed body and soul into the glory of Heaven." Her body wasn't allowed to corrupt nor was it allowed to remain in a tomb. Though there are claims by some cities about possessing her temporary tomb.

In the early Christian centuries relics of saints and those who gave their lives for the faith were jealously guarded and highly prized. Many cities claim the mortal remains of saints, both famous and little-known. But there are no records of Mary's bodily remains being venerated anywhere.

How is Assumption Day celebrated around the world?

Colombia Colombia

In Colombia, religious holidays including the Feast of the Assumption are celebrated on the following Monday.

Costa Rica Costa Rica

In Costa Rica, Assumption is a public holiday but is celebrated as Mother's Day.

Germany Germany

In Germany, Assumption is an official holiday in the region of Saarland. In Bavaria, it is a public holiday in the 1700 communities that have a predominantly Catholic population and in the cities of Augsburg and Munich.

Italy Italy

In Italy, 15 August is called 'Ferragosto' and is a custom that dates back to Roman times.

Ferragosto comes from the Latin 'feriae Augusti' (holiday/rest of Augustus), in honor of Octavian Augustus, the first Roman emperor, who also gave his name to the month of August. Augustus established the celebration in 18 BC. In ancient times, a pagan festival was celebrated on August 1. But August contained many more holidays, with 13 days, dedicated to the goddess Diana, whose feast day was 15 August. When the Roman Empire adopted Christianity, Ferragosto merged with Assumption.

Switzerland Switzerland

In Switzerland, this is a regional holiday celebrated in Aargau, Appenzell Innerrhoden, Fribourg, Jura, Lucerne, Nidwalden, Obwalden, Schwyz, Solothurn, St. Gallen, Ticino, Uri, Valais and Zug.

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