Vigil of Assumption Day in Vatican City in 2020

Vigil of Assumption Day in Vatican City in 2020
Assumption of the Virgin, Parma Cathedral. Image by Correggio

  How long until Vigil of Assumption Day?
This holiday next takes place in 36 days.
  Dates of Vigil of Assumption Day in Vatican City
2022 Vatican City Sun, Aug 14 National Holiday
2021 Vatican City Sat, Aug 14 National Holiday
2020 Vatican City Fri, Aug 14 National Holiday
2019 Vatican City Wed, Aug 14 National Holiday
2018 Vatican City Wed, Aug 15 National Holiday
  Summary
Historically a day of fasting and abstinence in Vatican City

When is the Vigil of the Assumption?

The Vigil of the Assumption is a public holiday in the Vatican City on August 14th each year. It precedes the Feast of the Assumption on August 15th, an important event in the calendar of the Roman Catholic Church.

Traditions of the Vigil of the Assumption

From the earliest days of the Catholic Church, it was a tradition to observe a vigil on the evening before key feast days. Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve is one example that remains popular to this day.

Regarded as the principal feast day of the Virgin Mother, Assumption commemorates the belief that when Mary, the mother of Jesus, died, her body was not subjected to the usual process of physical decay but was "assumed" into heaven and reunited there with her soul. Like the Immaculate Conception, the Assumption wasn’t always an official dogma of the Roman Catholic Church, in fact it was only ruled as such in 1950 by Pope Pius XII.

During the day of the vigil, followers would fast before gathering in the evening to listen to readings from the Bible, or a sermon on the topic by a priest. At the start of the feast day, mass would be celebrated and the fast could be broken.

Given the importance of Mary to the Roman Catholic tradition, it is no surprise that the vigil before her feast day has been observed for many centuries. In 858 AD, Mention is made of the Vigil of the Assumption of Our Lady, with fasting, by Pope Nicolas I. It is recorded that on this day angels were heard, near the city of Soissons, singing this anthem: "Felix namque es, sacra Virgo Maria, et omni laude dignissima, quia ex te ortus est Sol justitiae, Christus Deus noster." (For thou art happy, O Holy Virgin Mary, and art worthy of all praise, for out of thee arose the Sun of justice, Christ our God.)

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