The Assumption of Mary – public holiday in many countries, amongst them Portugal
On 15 of August, Catholic Church celebrates the Assumption of Mary, one of the most important figures of the Christian universe.
The taking up of the body of Mother Mary into heaven was declared a dogma by the Pope Pius XII in 1950, having been , however, celebrated since the 6th century.
The Assumption of Mary is a reason for very solemn celebrations in different denominations of Christianity. It is also considered one of the Holly Days of Obligations, when Catholics are required to attend Mass.
Please note that the Eastern Catholic Church celebrates on 15 of August the Dormition of the Theotokos, meaning “the falling asleep of the Mother of God”, indicating the Eastern Church’s belief that Mother Mary did and was resurrected before her ascent to heaven, while in the Catholic Church it remains undefined, whether Mary had a physical death or not.
Amongst the countries in which Assumption Day is considered a public holiday (bank holiday) are: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Chile, Croatia, Colombia, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain and Tahiti.
Germany celebrates the Assumption partially, being 15 of August a work free day only in some lands. Also only about half of the Swiss cantons consider this day a public holiday.
In Czech Republic, Brazil, Ireland, Mexico and Russia, although not an official holiday, the Assumption day calls for widespread celebrations.
The Assumption Day in Portugal
In Portugal, the Assumption of Mary is known as Solenidade de Assunção da Bem-Aventurada Virgem Maria, or simply Assunção. The celebrations of this day are primarily of a religious character, being the high light of the day a special mass with a liturgy focusing on Mother Mary.
Processions are commonly held on 15 August, especially in the rural Portugal. In the big cities, however, the religious dimension of the occasion easily gets lost and the day is perceived mostly as work-free day.
Most retail and many services work normally on the Assumption Day in Portugal.