Celebrating the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Feast of Assumption is celebrated by Roman Catholics each year on Aug. 15

In the Roman Catholic religion, Aug. 15 marks the celebration of the assumption of Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, into heaven.

The Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is also referred to as the Assumption.

It's also called the Feast of the Assumption or the Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God.


Here is further background on the day, including why it is important to the Catholic Church and traditional methods to celebrate the day.

three crosses on a hill

The Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary celebrates Mary, mother of Jesus Christ, going to heaven after her death on Earth. (iStock)

  1. What does the Feast of the Assumption celebrate?
  2. How and where is the Feast of the Assumption celebrated?
  3. Is the Feast of the Assumption a holy day of obligation?
  4. Is the assumption of the Virgin Mary referenced in the Bible?
  5. What prayers can be said that are dedicated to Mary on the Feast of the Assumption?

1. What does the Feast of the Assumption celebrate?

The Feast of the Assumption is celebrated on Aug. 15 each year by the Catholic Church. 

The occasion celebrates the belief that Mary's body and soul entered heaven from Earth after her death.

The occasion has been celebrated since the 4th century C.E., according to Boston Public Library. 

The belief was defined as a dogma of the Catholic faith in 1950 by Pope Prius XII. A dogma is an irrefutable belief of divine revelation by God and the church.

"We pronounce, declare and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma that the immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul to heavenly glory." 


2. How and where is the Feast of the Assumption celebrated?

The Feast of the Assumption is celebrated in different ways around the world. Celebrations include attending Mass or service, joining in on festivities, viewing street processions and observing fireworks.

During the Feast of the Assumption celebrations, it is common to see artwork of Mary on display on clothing, framed photographs, candles, posters and more.

To celebrate the assumption of Mary into heaven, plant flowers around a statue of the Blessed Mother in your yard, read books about the assumption to children and decorate a feast table dedicated to her.


Little Italy in Cleveland is a well-known location that hosts thousands of locals and travelers for a four-day celebration ending on Aug. 15 annually. 

The historic neighborhood, which features a strip of Italian bars, restaurants, bakeries and Holy Rosary Church, is home to a tremendous celebration of the Blessed Mother each year.

"It's a celebration just like Christmas or Easter," the Rev. Joe Previte, pastor at Holy Rosary Church in Cleveland, told Fox News Digital. Previte has been a priest since 2007.

hands folded in prayer

Many attend Mass or service on the Feast of the Assumption. (iStock)

"I've been helping to prepare for the feast at my parents' restaurant since I was a little girl," Gianna Lonardo told Fox News Digital. 

Her parents, Angelo and Maureen Sidari, own Angelo's Nido Italia in Cleveland and she works there as well. "Our back patio holds the largest bar and entertainment space where we prep and sell about 3,000 Jell-O shots each year," she said.


While the feast is celebrated in a big way in many parts of the U.S., the meaning behind it is still to observe the resurrection and glorification of Mary.

"My favorite part is being part of the procession," Lonardo said. "When I made my First Communion, I dressed as an angel and sat on the float underneath the Virgin Mary statue. Last year was my first time walking the procession with my daughter, Capri. As the priest leads us in prayer along the way, we alternate [saying] each decade of the rosary between English and Italian."

She added, "It's wonderful to join in a tradition that takes pride in our Catholic faith that's 124 years old."

The Feast of the Assumption is widely celebrated around the world in countries including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Croatia, France, parts of Germany, Guatemala, Greece, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States, according to Boston Public Library.


Celebrations across the U.S. include festivals with food, drinks and entertainment, fireworks and especially religious processions led by the Catholic Church.

"I think they've kind of gotten away from that," Linda Sanguedolce Hansen, 83, of Cleveland told Fox News Digital. "Not the church, but the young people coming. I don't think they really know the meaning. This is the day to honor the Virgin Mary and her assumption into heaven."

Hansen worked annually both in preparation of the Feast of the Assumption and during the long weekend event. She, her brother, mother and friends prepared meatballs for the attendees, sang in the church choir, marched in the procession and counted the money donated to the church for more than 30 years.

"I love the procession. That's the feast to me," said Hansen.

Donations from the public go toward scholarships for children in the neighborhood to attend Catholic schools as well as parish operations. Families can apply to receive donations gathered from the feast to support their children's Catholic education.

Priest holding cross

Beyond attending church on Aug. 15, there are other festivals and celebrations that occur around the world. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert/File)

While Cleveland hosts one of the biggest celebrations across the U.S., it isn't the only location that hosts sizable celebrations of the feast day. Buffalo, New York, is also known for honoring the Blessed Mother with an outdoor Mass, living rosary, food, raffles and more.

3. Is the Feast of the Assumption a holy day of obligation?

Holy days of obligations are when Catholics are encouraged and expected to attend Mass.

placeholderThe Feast of the Assumption is a holy day of obligation. However, when the feast day lands on a Monday or Saturday, the obligation to attend Mass is dissolved. Most Catholics will attend Mass anyway on the Saturday or Sunday nearest to the feast day.

4. Is the assumption of the Virgin Mary referenced in the Bible?

"Not directly, but indirectly, in the Book of Revelation," said Previte. He referenced Reading 1 from the Mass for the Feast of the Assumption. 


It states, "God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple. A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars."

The readings during the joyful Mass time are the same each year from the Book of Revelation, Chronicles and more.

"The feast is a way for us to evangelize, a way for us to celebrate that good news, celebrate what God does for us," said Previte. 

placeholder"We're celebrating something pretty spectacular. At the moment of her death, Mary was assumed body and soul into heaven. And that was a special grace given to her by God."

5. What prayers can be said that are dedicated to Mary on the Feast of the Assumption?

While there are numerous prayers one can recite on the Feast of the Assumption, some of the most popular and powerful include the following:

  • Hail Mary
  • Hail Holy Queen
  • Prayer to Our Lady of Fatima
  • The Memorare Prayer
  • A Prayer to the Heart of Mary
  • Prayer to Mother Mary for Protection

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