Dormition of the Holy Mother of God
What kind of holiday is this?
Every year on August 28, Orthodox Christians and Greek Catholics celebrate one of the 12 most important church holidays, which is called Assumption of the Virgin or Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. People call this holiday the First Pure One. It is customary to call the departure from the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary the ascension, not the death. After all, she immediately ascended to heaven to her son Jesus Christ.
How did the idea of celebrating the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary come about?
For the first time, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was celebrated in Jerusalem, immediately after the Council of the Holy Apostles, which took place in 431 in the Greek city of Ephesus. The initial celebrations were focused not so much on the Ascension of the Mother of God, as on her preeminence as the Mother of God, which is why this day was called the feast of Mary the Mother of God.
The name, which has survived to this day, was acquired by the holiday in the 6th century AD. Initially, not all Eastern Rite churches celebrated the Assumption on the same day. For example, in Alexandria, the holiday fell on January 6. By the way, the Ethiopian Church continues to celebrate it in January, and in August they celebrate the Ascension of the Mother of God. The Armenian Church celebrated the Assumption on the second Sunday of August. At the end of the 6th century AD, the Byzantine Emperor Mauritius introduced a new date of celebration, which was the only one for the entire Byzantine Empire – August 15. The day was not chosen by chance, because it was then that he defeated the Persians. Nowadays, according to the Gregorian calendar, the holiday falls on August 28.
Events that became a prerequisite for the creation of the holiday
The exact day of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary is unknown, but it is known that 3 days before this day, the Mother of God saw the Archangel Gabriel, who appeared to her in a wonderful light and told her that she would soon pass to heavenly life. On the occasion of the subsequent event and as a sign of confirmation of the truth of his words, the angel presented Mary with a palm branch.
This event was felt by the disciples of Christ. On this day, the Holy Spirit gathered them from different countries and cities where they were on their missionary journeys. All the apostles gathered in Jerusalem and said goodbye to the Mother of their Lord and Savior. Later they buried her body.
There is a legend according to which the Apostle Thomas did not have time to say goodbye to the Mother of God during her lifetime. When he arrived, the disciples rolled away the stone from the tomb so he could see Mary’s body. However, the body was not found there. And it is not surprising. After all, Jesus himself did not forget about his Mother. After her burial, he, together with the souls of the saints and a huge number of angels, descended to earth to take her body to heaven.
The Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is not celebrated as a sad event associated with death. The Church believes that there is no need to be sad, because death is a certain transformation, because the Mother of God simply fell asleep to later wake up next to her son.
How to celebrate the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary?
It so happened that the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is celebrated immediately after the Assumption fast. Therefore, on this day you can break your fast and eat a variety of food. However, if the holiday falls on a Friday or Wednesday, then the break from fasting should be postponed for one day. In any case, until this day, they bake bread from the consecrated grain and put it on the festive table.
It is traditional on this day to hold church liturgies in which the memory of the Mother of God is commemorated. People who come to the service must pray near the icon of the Mother of God and ask her for protection and intercession.
Consecration of ears of wheat also takes place in the church, because it is on these days that the harvest takes place. In the church, they commemorate the dead relatives and friends, light a candle for the living and pray for the health of children.
After the Dormition, people start preparing for the winter. For this, they go to the forest for mushrooms, nuts, and harvest in the garden. Our ancestors actively began to pickle tomatoes, cucumbers, cabbage, etc.
Bans on the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
- Swearing and quarrels are something that is definitely not welcome on the Assumption holiday. Especially you can’t quarrel with friends.
- You should also not refuse to help a person – a relative or a stranger. All requests should be listened to.
- In ancient times, people believed that on August 28 one should not walk barefoot on the dew, as the dew represents the tears of the Mother of God. A person who dares to violate this prohibition can get seriously ill.
Folk signs for the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
- Our ancestors carefully observed natural phenomena and tried to find certain patterns. It was believed that if you happen to see a rainbow in the sky on August 28, then autumn will be dry and warm.
- Good warm weather on the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary indicates a cool summer.
- There are a lot of spiders and cobwebs in the house – for severe frosts in winter.
- If the water in the reservoir is calm on this day, then the weather in autumn and winter will be calm and windless.
Postcards for the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
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When will we celebrate the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary?